Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: African Oil Palm
Elaeis guineensis

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Elaeis (el-LEE-iss) (Info)
Species: guineensis (gin-ee-EN-sis) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

One member has or wants this plant for trade.


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 14 photos.
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3 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive billowen On Jul 25, 2010, billowen from Port Charlotte, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Planted about four months ago, this palm has taken off like a rocket.
If you desire a fast growing palm, this is it! I understand these palms grow in central and south Fla. and will recover in most cases from temps in the upper 20's. Update July 2011, I don't believe this to be a 10B rated Palm. Mine took two freezes and frost with little damage unprotected. Has now recovered and looking great with lightning fast growth. I have seen two large ones, about 40 feet in inland Lee County, Fl. These have taken several freezes in a row, they may be defoliated, but always come back.

Neutral wreinha On Jan 16, 2008, wreinha from Macomb, IL wrote:

I have just got a packet that contains six african oil palm seeds from Banana tree and I hope they will grow. I am hoping to figure out what to do with them they grow, I hope to keep all six of them or give some of them to the Missouri botanical gardens in St.Louis, Mo and to the Wsahington park botanical gardens In Springfield ,IL.
Wyatt Reinhart

Positive jungleboy_fl On Nov 16, 2004, jungleboy_fl from Naples, FL wrote:

This is a great palm for a beginner in Florida. It loves lots of space, full sun, copious amounts of water, and plenty of fertilizer. Don't bother buying a large specimen, as it grows so fast you will be pruning it twice a year! The petioles are armed, so be careful when removing fronds. It is a lot of fun to watch these grow.

Keep in mind, however, that this is a tropical palm. It may survive for a few years in climates outside of the subtropics, but one hard freeze, and it's a goner. Also, make certain to choose a site far from obstacles like power lines. These palms have huge, sweeping fronds that are easily tossed about by the wind. They begin to bear fruit while young, and produce a tremendous amount over the years.

The only negative, is that the fruit of this palm is a favorite food of many rodents. Likewise, the rodents are the favorite food of snakes. I am always finding the slithering reptiles in the grass near my specimen. Not really a problem for those who are fond of snakes, such as myself.

Positive Kylecawaza On Aug 23, 2004, Kylecawaza from Corte Madera, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is a must have for Soutehrn California. This palm can survive from the coast all the way to places like the Salton Sea, Palm Springs, or Phoenix AZ. It prefers places like Palm Spings though. This palm is a fast grower, and in Phoenix AZ< which is a little cooler than Palm Springs, this palm is fruiting with 18 foot fronds and the same amount of trunk and still growing, and under 25 years old. (I think 17) THis beatiful palm is a must have!

Neutral palmbob On Dec 8, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a tropical tree of great economic importance throughout the world. The seeds of this palm are the primary source for palm oil used in all sorts of fattening foods. These are grown by the tens of thousands by many countries and the oil is exported around the world. As a landscape plant, it's pretty nice, but a bit scraggly at times. It doesn't grow well here in So Cal, but in a few micro-climates it survives. Some may tell you it's a good palm for So Cal, but it's not. No palm has survived long enough to form any decent amount of trunk I'm aware of, and they all looks sickly and sad. Best example of one I know of is in the excellent climate of the SAn Diego zoo... but still sad. However, in Florida, it does quite well. It grows WELL over 40 feet eventually (60-80' more like).

Interestingly, there is a closely related species in central America (Elarid oleirfera), which many botanists study helping to solidify ideas about timing of the continental drifts and separation of Africa from America.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Big Pine Key, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Grant, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida

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