Elaeis guineensis Jacq.
|The plant in its natural habitat
Credit: Jim Space, PIER
An oil palm plantation in Indonesia
Common names: African oil palm
Synonyms: Elaeis melanococca J. Gaertn.
Life form: Palm
Dispersal: Seeds probably dispersed by animals. Distributed by humans for ornamental purposes and for agriculture (oil products obtained from fruit and seeds).
Reproduction: Flowers are unisexual. Female flowers grouped in clusters of 200 to 300. Clusters are close to the trunk at the end of short heavy pedicels. Male flowers borne in spikes. Fruits are produced 3-4 years after planting, and fruits ripen 5 or 6 months after pollination. These fruits are red and 2-3.5 cm long. Seeds usually require temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius or more in order to germinate.
Herbivores: No information available.
Resistant stages: No information available.
Native habitat: Riverine forests, freshwater swamps.
Habitat occupied in invaded range: Forests, especially disturbed habitats.
|Altitude||No information available.|
|Light||Plenty of sun, intolerant of shade.|
|Temperature||Grows best in warm conditions, where temperatures do not drop below 15 degrees Celsius and the mean annual temperature is between 18.7 and 27.4 degrees Celsius.|
|Annual rainfall||No information available.|
|Soil||Fertile, moist, but well drained soils. Prefers acidic sands, volcanic soils and coastal alluvials, with a pH of between 4 and 8.|
Native to the West African coast, from Liberia to Angola. Distinct populations found in Madagascar.
Introduced range: Invasive in Tanzania, tropical South America and many Pacific Islands, including Polynesia, Micronesia, Cook Islands and Hawaii. Introduced but not reported as invasive in south-western USA.
Ecosystem: No information available.
Health, social and economic: The oil palm is cultivated for its oil from the fruits.
Mechanical: Trees can be cut down, but chemical control must be used to prevent resprouting.
Chemical: Chemical control must be used on cut stumps to prevent resprouting.
Biological: No information available.
Invasive Species Specialist Group, 2006. Available from http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=377&fr=1&sts=sss (Accessed August 2006).
Purdue University Center for New Crops & Plants Products, 1996. Available from http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Elaeis_guineensis.html (Accessed August 2006).
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER), 2004. Avialable from http://www.hear.org/pier/species/elaeis_guineensis.htm (Accessed August 2006).
Last updated October 2006