Elaeis guineensis Jacq.

Sub-Family: Not available
English Name: African Oil Palm
Synonym: Palma oleosa Mill.
Common Name: Oil palm
Flowering & Fruiting Period: Throughout the year
Distribution: West and Central Africa
Habitat: Cultivated
Uses: Palm oil is obtained from the fruit whilst palm kernel oil is obtained from the seed. Palm oil has a wide range of uses, including making margarine, vegetable ghee, bakery fats, and ice cream and as cooking oil. Palm wine is commonly produced in West Africa by tapping the unopened male inflorescences. Preparations made from the palm heart are used to treat gonorrhoea, menorrhagia, and perinatal abdominal pain, and are considered laxative, anti-emetic and diuretic. The leaf sap is used in preparations used to treat skin affections. The oil from the pulp is emollient and is used as an excipient for herbal ointments.
Key Characteristics: Oil palm is a Solitary, robust, palm; stem reaches up to 10 m in height. Leaves pinnate, steeply arching, with numerous pairs of linear leaflets arranged in 4 ranks; basal leaflets reduced to spines. Inflorescence interfoliar; male and female inflorescences are separate; male flowers arranged in cylindrical branches; female inflorescences are robust, partially hidden in leaf bases. Ripe fruits deep purple in colour, slightly angular due to compression.