African oil palm


African oil palm is native to tropical Africa and Madagascar. It reaches a height of 60 feet feet, with a trunk up to 2 feet in diameter partially covered by leaf bases. The leaves are up to 15 feet long and are composed of several rows of slender leaflets, those nearest the trunk transformed into spines. Inflorescences arise among the lower leaves, are about 1 foot long, and are male or female on the same palm. Ripe fruits are orange-red and up to 1.5 inches long. It flowers and produces fruits throughout the year. It is is extensively cultivated in Asia for the extraction of oil used in the production of lubricants, margerine, beauty products and biodiesel. The generic name derives from a Greek word meaning olive, in reference to the oil produced by that fruit. The species name refers to its geographic origin.

The photographed palm is in front of the Monzon Building. There are other specimens on the grounds of the greenhouse behind the Celis Building, near the Barcelona Street entrance, and at the northeast corner of the Art Museum and Academic Senate Building.

The American oil palm (E. oleifera) is native to Central America plus northern and western South America. It closely resembles the preceding species but frequently grows inclined or reclined. Its specific name means oil-bearing. The photographed palm is in the garden across from the Monzón Building and is the only member of the species in the campus.

Elaeis guineensis, E. oleifera (Arecaceae)