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Elaeis oleifera - American oil palm


Native to:



Central America, northern South America.

Open forest, low-lying wet areas, fields. 0-300 meters above sea level. 6 meters tall.

Elaeis oleifera - American oil palm

Ecological value:

Can provide disease resistance to surrounding plants, slow growth, fruits
at 3 years of age. Slow growth rates.

Material uses:

Used to produce palm oil which can be used in soap and cosmetics. Elaeis spp. was found to be a cheap source of ‘nanofibers’

Edible uses:

Oil from seed and kernel. Both oils are used in foods including ice cream, margarine and cooking oil. Both oils contain high amounts of unsaturated fatty acids.

Medicinal use:

Contains Vitamin A + E, oil treats rheumatism, dandruff, repels insects.

Other details:

It's orange fruit’s are clustered at the base of the leaves and are boiled to produce the oil. US common name is American Oil Palm. Almost all wildlife has been found to decline when oil plantations are abundant. Human use of oil palms date back 5000 years.


Christine Facella


“Elaeis Oleifera (Kunth) Cortés | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 26, 2023.
‌“Elaeis Oleifera - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 7, 2023.
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A. , ‘Medicinal Plants of Brazil’, Reference Publications; Michigan, 2000
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T., ‘Palms of the World’, Angus and Robertson, 1992
Eggleton, Paul. 2020. “The State of the World’s Insects.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 45 (1): 61–82.
Abdul Khalil, H.P.S., A.H. Bhat, and A.F. Ireana Yusra. 2012. “Green Composites from Sustainable Cellulose Nanofibrils: A Review.” Carbohydrate Polymers 87 (2): 963–79.
Image source: Carlos Valenzuela

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