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Oil Palm Tree

The oil palm tree produces a healthy kind of oil that has been recognized for its healthful effects and is slowly growing in popularity among the health conscious. Learn about the uses and benefits of this oil and how these are planted and taken care of...
Gardenerdy Staff
The Elaeis guineensis or oil palm tree grows abundantly in West Africa, although it is now made an agricultural crop because of its beneficial oil. It is also known as the African oil palm tree, and grows in places around Gambia and Angola. The pulp that is obtained from the tree's fruit is what makes the oil itself, giving it a distinct color and flavor that is quite palatable and can be used for varying purposes. Not only is it a part of dishes, but it is also used in cosmetics and other products in the market.
It is rich in beta-carotene, and when oxidized it gives out a unique deep red color. The oil is made using the soft pulp that comes encased within the fruit, where its nutty center is used to produce palm kernel oil. The main purpose in most places for growing the oil palm tree is mainly for its oil, where the fruit in some areas in Africa are eaten whole.
Today as we watch what we eat, and attune our bodies to a healthier way of living, we are constantly looking for alternatives to make cooking a healthy experience. Not only is it used as an oil when cooking, but it is added like I said to other products that can do wonders for one's health and skin.
Oil Palm Tree Plantation
Oil palm trees are grown in large numbers in dedicated areas that cater to growing these trees. An oil palm tree needs to be grown in sunny areas, so that the fruit it yields is of the best quality and that the oils that it will eventually supply is of abundant nutrition. The temperatures these trees are grown in range between 25°-28°C, where the consistency of this is of utmost importance to ensure that it doesn't fall prey to diseases should the temperature lower. It works best as a tree grown during the rainy season, since it is then kept continuously nourished to help the leaves, fruit and plant itself grown to a quality that is at par with what is needed from this kind of tree. Therefore choosing the right season where both sunlight and rain play major roles is vital, to get the best that the plant can offer when nurtured so.
The soil as anyone will know for any plant life, has to be rich with a sumptuous amount of mineral salts present in them for the tree, with apt fertilizers chosen to help it grow right. The soil depth has to be entirely soft and penetrable for the roots, so that it doesn't stunt root growth should it come face to face with an obstruction. Flat soil works well for oil palm trees, which would help it stand strong against erosion and other problems.
The full-grown oil palm trees are then put through a modern extraction method to remove the oil from the fruit where the kernel is used as well to make kernel oil, which again is a two in one benefit the fruit comes with. The best way to ensure that fruits bear a generous amount of pulp and a large kernel affixed at its center, professional cultivators fertilize a dura palm with the pollen of a pisifera palm, where they then produce what is known as the tenera variety. This bringing together of the palms produces an oil palm that has a rich cluster of fruits with a good helping of pulp and a large kernel.
Uses and Benefits
The many health perks of this oil will have you ordering for it online if your store doesn't have a stock full of this already. It is a powerhouse of nutrients that can help battle against many health problems. It contains high traces of vitamin E, namely tocotrienols and tocopherols, which are strong antioxidants that fight against free radicals. That would mean fighting against cancerous cells, and slowing down the aging process. It is a storehouse of good fat, giving the body its much-needed douse of vital fat soluble micronutrients. It helps boost the immune system leaving one less susceptible to infections, since the needed fat and nutrients that the body craves is abundant within this type of oil. It contains carotenoids, where beta-carotene is its highest occurring nutrient, making it great for those with heart disease and a family history of cancer.
The oil is used extensively in African cuisine as their base oil, forming a major part of their food's ensemble. It can be used as an alternative fuel to diesel, seeing that it has the same properties of this when processed. The largest producer of this oil is Malaysia. The tree itself is used as an ornamental plant in parts of Africa. The oil is added to chocolate and a lot of cosmetic related products because of its skin enhancing properties.
Oil Palm Tree Care
Taking care of this tree is a challenging endeavor, since it takes a lot of patience and precise care when it comes to these trees. Once the seedlings are ready to be planted after being taken from the nursery to the main plantation area, you must make sure there is enough space for each tree to grow to avoid overcrowding and nutrient stealing from the neighboring tree. Starting out with a small plantation is a safer alternative than going with a large project. It is important to know how to gauge whether the fruit has ripened enough to be taken down from the tree, since fruit that has fallen away from the branches due to over ripening is no good.
Use wire netting to protect the trees from outside predators and meddlers. Start off like I said with a small plantation area and take it up a notch once you have a successful amount of trees to work within the forthcoming months. It is also easier to work with a small number of oil palm trees since your attention can be divided easily. Keeping an eye out for any problems and solving them immediately before they take hold is of prime importance as an oil palm tree grower.
The oil palm tree is quite a beneficial one with its amazing fruit supply that makes up the oil that is produced using its wondrous pulp. It has properties that have been recognized as helpful eons ago, but it is making a comeback and slowly making its presence known worldwide.