Elaeis guineensis

3 Apr

Elaeis guineensis (23/03/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Elaeis guineensis (23/03/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: All yer round

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 20m

Eventual Spread: 8m

Hardiness: 12, 13

Family: Arecaceae

Elaeis guineensis is a single stemmed evergreen palm tree. Its dark green leaves are pinnate, up to 5m long with up to 150 pairs of leaflets. Its leaflets are up to 120cm long and 5cm broad. Its branches. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of up to 30cm. Its trunk is covered in spirally arranged leaf bases. Its small monoecious flowers are produced in dense clusters which are up to 30cm long. Its red/ black fruit are about 3.5cm long, 2cm broad, appear in clusters of up to 300 and takes about 6 months to mature from pollination.

Elaeis guineensis, commonly known as the African Oil Palm or Macaw-Fat, is native to west and south west Africa. This tree is the source of palm oil and the human use of this palm dates back 5,000 years. It is now grown in many tropical location as a monoculture throughout the world for the production of palm oil. Crop production of this tree has been responsible for the destruction of vast tracts of tropical rain forest.

The etymological root of the binomial name Elaeis is derived from the Greek elaiow meaning ‘oil’. Guineensis is derived from the Latin meaning ‘from Guinea’.

Although usually used a s a crop tree, the landscape architect may find Elaeis guineensis useful as an attractive palm tree, although consideration should be given to the large and heavy bunches of fruit.

Ecologically, Elaeis guineensis is attractive to some pollinating insects.

Elaeis guineensis prefers moist, fertile, deep, well-drained soils. It prefers an acidic to neutral pH of soil. It will not tolerate dry soils.

Elaeis guineensis requires little maintenance.

Davis Landscape Architecture

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