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by : BTF

As I Wander...

Living in tropical Malaysia, we tend to take the hot humid weather, thundery rainstorms and the spectrum of wild evergreen plants as a given.

Recently, I noticed more exotic plants making its way into landscaped home gardens, recreational parks, frontages of shopping malls and
commercial buildings.

Along kerb sides of residential streets and busy motorways, palms, trees and flowering plants make pleasant and interesting fringes.

This is a record of the various species "as I see it" for I am in awe of palms. Hence, my premise for this blog is that the global garden,
i.e. every physical garden (tended or untended), becomes a part of my, simply said, cyber palm garden. ;-)

Please feel free to share your thoughts or comments.

Thank you for visiting!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The African Oil Palm

Botanical Name : Elaeis guineensis

A native palm tree which originated from West Africa and introduced into Malaya (now Malaysia) way back in the 19th century as an ornamental tree and later cultivated commercially as a source of edible oil.

Today, nearly 4 million hectares of land are dedicated to the cultivation of oil palms, for which Malaysia is one of the largest producers of palm oil in the world.

It has a single, erect trunk encircled with long, dark green, pinnate feather fronds.  The old fronds that has withered would leave behind scars wrapped around the trunk. Saw this well pruned specimen outside The Curve shopping complex at Kota Damansara (see pic.)

The palm fruits take up to almost half a year to mature, from deep purple to orange red, shaped like small oval plums. The rich oil which is extracted from the pulp of the fruits are made into cooking oil whilst the kernel oils are used mainly for the production of foods, ranging from cakes to cosmetics and the manufacture of soaps.  A very versatile crop indeed.

well pruned ornamental

                                                                                                  leafy greens
                                                       ripened nuts

In Malaysia, the oil palm trunks are also processed into a versatile raw material which is now used
for a wide range of applications from paper to animal feed and furniture. The disposal of the cut down trunks, which used to present a huge problem, have been resolved and generating revenue instead.

These palm plantations could be seen almost everywhere along the highways traversing the length and breadth of the country.  In areas where the plantations have given way to new economic development, it is still common to find some scattered palms.

Most of the stems are adorned by secondary plants like moss, ferns and creepers, made conducive by the ideal tropical conditions. 

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