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close this bookBetter Farming Series 24 - The Oil Palm (FAO - INADES, 1977, 40 p.)
close this folderModern oil palm cultivation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentBefore starting think things over carefully
View the documentLife of the oil palm
View the documentThe fruits of the oil palm yield oil
View the documentWhy cultivate oil palms?
View the documentWhere to cultivate oil palms

Life of the oil palm

5. The oil palm may have a very long life.

It is important to know about the life of the oil palm. If you know all about the life of the oil palm, you will understand better how to cultivate them.

If you do not take care of the seeds, they will germinate only after several years.

At the research stations, the seeds are kept in a room where it is always very hot.

This makes the seeds germinate sooner, after 90 to 100 days.

6. Each seed germinated is planted in a small plastic container.

A new leaf grows every month.

The young seedling stays in the container for 4 to 5 months.

When you see a left with two points (bifid leaf) coming up, transplant the seedling out into the nursery.

7. The seedling stays in the nursery for 1 year. When it has about 15 green leaves, it is planted in the palm grove.

The seedling is therefore 16 to 18 months old when it is ready to be planted in the palm grove.

Young stem

Seedling with bifid leaf

Spikes of male flowers

8. When the young oil palm has been planted in the palm grove, it produces male flowers.

The flowers form at the base of each leaf.
For several months, the oil palm produces only male flowers.
After that, for several months, it produces only female flowers.
The male flowers are grouped in spikes. The female flowers form other spikes. The male flowers fertilize the female flowers. Fertilized female flowers turn into a cluster of fruit.

Produces male flowers

9. The oil palm has no branches.

It has a trunk and leaves. The trunk, sometimes called a stipe, is the stem of the palm.
At the tip of the stem there is one bud - one only:
This is the growing point, which makes the oil palm live and grow.
If the growing point dies, the tree dies as well.
The growing point of the adult oil palm produces 20 to 25 leaves every year.
It is most important that the growing point should produce many leaves, because there will be a flower at the base of each leaf.

If there are many leaves, there will be many flowers. And if there are many flowers, there will be many clusters of fruit.

The oil palm grows well and produces a lot in regions where it is very hot, where the sun is very strong, and where it rains a great deal.