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Useful Tropical Plants

Elaeis oleifera

(Kunth) Cortés

Arecaceae

+ Synonyms

Alfonsia oleifera Kunth

Corozo oleifera (Kunth) L.H.Bailey

Elaeis melanococca Mart.

Common Name: American Oil Palm

Elaeis oleifera
Ripening fruits
Photograph by: Reinaldo Aguilar
Creative Commons License
Elaeis oleifera Elaeis oleifera Elaeis oleifera Elaeis oleifera

General Information

American oil palm is a large, single-stemmed, pinnate-leaved, evergreen palm growing 6 metres or more tall. The unbranched stem can be 40cm in diameter; it is topped by a crown of large, arching leaves. It has dense clusters of crowded flowers and bright red fruit[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
,
768
Title
Field Guide to the Palms of the Americas
Publication
 
Author
Henderson A.; Galeano G.; Bernal R.
Publisher
Princeton University Press; Princeton, New Jersey.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-691-08537-4
Description
An excellent book, giving basic information on all the 550 species of palms native to the Americas that were known in 1995. Comprehensive information on the plants range and habitat, brief description, some uses and almost 250 photos.
].
The plant is commonly exploited from the wild as a source of oil; it also has local medicinal uses. It is occasionally cultivated for its oil-bearing seeds and fruits[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
768
Title
Field Guide to the Palms of the Americas
Publication
 
Author
Henderson A.; Galeano G.; Bernal R.
Publisher
Princeton University Press; Princeton, New Jersey.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-691-08537-4
Description
An excellent book, giving basic information on all the 550 species of palms native to the Americas that were known in 1995. Comprehensive information on the plants range and habitat, brief description, some uses and almost 250 photos.

Range

S. America - northern Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, the Guyanas; C. America - Panama to Honduras.

Habitat

More or less open forest in moist, sandy soils that are often poorly drained[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
]. Low-lying wet areas along the sides of rivers and streams, often persisting in cleared areas[
768
Title
Field Guide to the Palms of the Americas
Publication
 
Author
Henderson A.; Galeano G.; Bernal R.
Publisher
Princeton University Press; Princeton, New Jersey.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-691-08537-4
Description
An excellent book, giving basic information on all the 550 species of palms native to the Americas that were known in 1995. Comprehensive information on the plants range and habitat, brief description, some uses and almost 250 photos.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height4.00 m
Growth RateSlow
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the lowland, moist tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 510 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 30°c, but can tolerate 14 - 34°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It can be killed by temperatures of 8°c or lower[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,400 - 2,500mm, but tolerates 700 - 3,500mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Plants grow well in full sun, even when small[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
]. Requires a humus-rich, well-drained soil, but is not fussy as to soil type[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
,
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 5 - 7.3[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
A slow growing tree[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Plants can commence bearing just 3 years after the seed has germinated[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
].
The plant produces both male and female flowers, but not usually at the same time. An individual inflorescence will be all male or all female flowers; after a series of inflorescences of one sex the plant will then produce a series of inflorescences of the opposite sex[
768
Title
Field Guide to the Palms of the Americas
Publication
 
Author
Henderson A.; Galeano G.; Bernal R.
Publisher
Princeton University Press; Princeton, New Jersey.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-691-08537-4
Description
An excellent book, giving basic information on all the 550 species of palms native to the Americas that were known in 1995. Comprehensive information on the plants range and habitat, brief description, some uses and almost 250 photos.
].

Edible Uses

Oil - two types of oil are obtained from the plant. Palm oil is obtained from the fruit whilst palm kernel oil is obtained from the seed[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
]. Both have a wide range of uses, including making margarine, ice cream and as a cooking oil[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
].

Medicinal

The oil obtained from the pulp is applied externally in the treatment of rheumatism, to invigorate hair growth, combat dandruff and to repel insects[
739
Title
Medicinal Plants of Brazil
Publication
 
Author
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A.
Publisher
Reference Publications; Michigan.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-917256-42-5
Description
An extremely concise book, listing approximately 1,500 species and varieties of plants with their botanical name, common name in Brazil, regions in Brazil where the plant is found, a brief list of uses and any medically active compounds in the plant.
].

Hairs from the leaf axils are said to be haemostatic[
739
Title
Medicinal Plants of Brazil
Publication
 
Author
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A.
Publisher
Reference Publications; Michigan.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-917256-42-5
Description
An extremely concise book, listing approximately 1,500 species and varieties of plants with their botanical name, common name in Brazil, regions in Brazil where the plant is found, a brief list of uses and any medically active compounds in the plant.
].

Other Uses

Oil - two types of oil are obtained from the plant. Palm oil is obtained from the fruit whilst palm kernel oil is obtained from the seed[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
]. These oils contain a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Both have a wide range of uses, including making soaps, detergents, shampoos, cosmetics, hair creams, lubricating oil, additives and fluxes[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
,
768
Title
Field Guide to the Palms of the Americas
Publication
 
Author
Henderson A.; Galeano G.; Bernal R.
Publisher
Princeton University Press; Princeton, New Jersey.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-691-08537-4
Description
An excellent book, giving basic information on all the 550 species of palms native to the Americas that were known in 1995. Comprehensive information on the plants range and habitat, brief description, some uses and almost 250 photos.
].
The oil can be applied to the body as an insect repellent[
739
Title
Medicinal Plants of Brazil
Publication
 
Author
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A.
Publisher
Reference Publications; Michigan.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-917256-42-5
Description
An extremely concise book, listing approximately 1,500 species and varieties of plants with their botanical name, common name in Brazil, regions in Brazil where the plant is found, a brief list of uses and any medically active compounds in the plant.
].

Propagation

Seed - pre-soak 24 hours in warm water and sow in containers. Germination takes place in 2 - 5 months[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
].

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