Taxon: Elaeis guineensis Jacq.

Genus: Elaeis
Family: Arecaceae (alt.Palmae)
Subfamily: Arecoideae
Tribe: Cocoseae
Subtribe: Elaeidinae
Nomen number: 14936
Place of publication: Select. stirp. amer. hist. 280, t. 172. 1763
Link to protologue:
Name Verified on: 17-Mar-2010 by ARS Systematic Botanists. Last Changed: 19-Sep-2017
Species priority site is: Natl. Germplasm Repository - Miami (MIA)
Accessions: 10 in National Plant Germplasm System

Common names:

  • African oil palm  (Source: World Econ Pl) - English
  • macaw-fat  (Source: Zander Ency) - English
  • oil palm  (Source: Dict Rehm) - English
  • palmier à huile  (Source: Dict Rehm) - French
  • palmier à huile d'Afrique  (Source: F NAmer) - French
  • afrikanische Ölpalme  (Source: Zander Ency) - German
  • Ölpalme  (Source: Dict Rehm) - German
  • kelapa sawit  (Source: Pl Res SEAs) - Indonesian
  • kelapa sawit  (Source: Pl Res SEAs) - Malay
  • palmeira-andim  (Source: PROTA4U) - Portuguese
  • palmeira-do-azeite  (Source: PROTA4U) - Portuguese
  • palmeira-do-dendê  (Source: PROTA4U) - Portuguese
  • dendê  (Source: pers. comm.) - Portuguese (Brazil)
  • dendezeiro  (Source: pers. comm.) - Portuguese (Brazil)
  • palma africana  (Source: Dict Rehm) - Spanish
  • mchikichi  (Source: PROTA4U) - Swahili
  • oljepalm  (Source: Kulturvaxtdatabas) - Swedish

Economic Importance:

  • Environmental: ornamental (fide PROTA4U)
  • Human food: beverage base (fide PROTA4U)
  • Human food: fruit (fide PROTA4U)
  • Human food: oil/fat (fide PROTA4U)
  • Human food: vegetable (fide PROTA4U)
  • Fuels: petroleum substitute/alcohol (fide PROTA4U;,)
  • Materials: beads (fide PROTA4U)
  • Materials: fiber (used in soaps, lubricants, & plasticizer and stabilizer in plastics fide PROTA4U)
  • Materials: lipids (used in soaps, lubricants, & plasticizer and stabilizer in plastics fide PROTA4U)
  • Medicines: folklore (fide Herbs Commerce ed2; PROTA4U)

Distributional Range:


  • Africa

    • East Tropical Africa: Kenya ; Tanzania ; Uganda
    • South Tropical Africa: Angola
    • West Tropical Africa: Benin ; Cote D'Ivoire ; Ghana ; Guinea ; Liberia ; Nigeria ; Senegal ; Sierra Leone ; Togo
    • West-Central Tropical Africa: Burundi ; Cameroon ; Central African Republic ; Congo ; Gabon ; Rwanda ; Zaire

  • Naturalized

  • Africa

    • Western Indian Ocean: Madagascar
  • Asia-Tropical

    • Indian Subcontinent: Sri Lanka
    • Malesia: Indonesia Sumatra; Malaysia

  • Cultivated


  • PROTABASE, the information base of PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) (on-line resource). (PROTA4U)
  • Aldén, B., S. Ryman, & M. Hjertson Svensk Kulturväxtdatabas, SKUD (Swedish Cultivated and Utility Plants Database; online resource on 2012 (Kulturvaxtdatabas)
  • Dransfield, J. & H. Beentje The palms of Madagascar. 1995 (Palms Madag)
  • Duke, J. A. Handbook of Nuts. CRC Press. 1989 (Handb Nuts)
  • Erhardt, W. et al. Der große Zander: Enzyklopädie der Pflanzennamen. 2008 (Zander Ency)
  • Facciola, S. Cornucopia, a source book of edible plants. 1990 (Cornucopia)
  • FNA Editorial Committee Flora of North America. 1993- (F NAmer)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 2010. Ecocrop (on-line resource). (Ecocrop)
  • Glassman, S. F. 1972. A revision of B. E. Dahlgren's Index of American palms Phanerog. Monogr. 6:1-294.
  • Govaerts, R. & J. Dransfield World checklist of palms. 2005 (L Palms)
  • Groth, D. 2005. pers. comm. (pers. comm.)
  • Hartley, C. W. S. 1988. The oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.), ed. 3 761 pp.
  • Ithnin, M. et al. Elaeis (Wild Crop Rel Pl Orn) 6:113-124.
  • Jones, D. L. Palms throughout the world. 1994 (Palms World)
  • Keay, R. W. J. Trees of Nigeria. 1989 (Trees Nigeria)
  • Keay, R. W. J. & F. N. Hepper Flora of west tropical Africa, ed. 2. 1953-1972 (F WT Afr)
  • Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium Hortus third. 1976 (Hortus 3)
  • Markle, G. M. et al., eds. Food and feed crops of the United States, ed. 2. 1998 (Food Feed Crops US)
  • McGuffin, M., J. T. Kartesz, A. Y. Leung, & A. O. Tucker Herbs of commerce, ed. 2. 2000 (Herbs Commerce ed2)
  • Moore, H. E., Jr. 1963. An annotated checklist of cultivated palms (Principes) 7:144.
  • Opsomer, J. E. 1956. Les premières descriptions du palmier à huile (Elaeis guineensis) Bull. Séances Acad. Roy. Sci. Outre Mer 2:253.
  • Personal Care Products Council International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI)
  • Porcher, M. H. et al. Searchable World Wide Web Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database (MMPND) (on-line resource). (Pl Names)
  • Rehm, S. Multilingual dictionary of agronomic plants. 1994 (Dict Rehm)
  • Rehm, S. & G. Espig The cultivated plants of the tropics and subtropics. 1991 (CultTropS)
  • Smith, A. C. Flora vitiensis nova. 1979-1991 (F Viti)
  • Turrill, W. B. et al., eds. Flora of tropical East Africa. 1952- (F TE Afr)
  • Uhl, N. W. & J. Dransfield Genera palmarum: a classification of palms based on the work of Harold E. Moore, Jr. 1987 (Gen Palm)
  • Vossen, H. A. M. van der & B. E. Umali, eds. 2001. Vegetable oils and fats (Pl Res SEAs) 14:85-93.
  • Westphal, E. & P. C. M. Jansen, eds. 1989. A selection (Pl Res SEAs) A:118.


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