A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z




oil palm

Common name for a palm tree of the genus Elaeis guineensis, of which the racemes consist of large clusters of crimson seeds, that are picked and squashed to obtain palm oil, the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet. The palm species originated in West Africa and was introduced to Malaysia by the British in 1875, and to Indonesia by the Dutch in the mid-to late 19th century, and was first planted as an ornamental tree. Today, it is mainly cultivated in southern Thailand, on the Malay peninsula and in Indonesia, with Malaysia and Indonesia alone making up for 85% of all palm oil production. Palm oil is cheap and ubiquitous. It is used in cooking, as well as in thousands of everyday products, from chocolate to instant noodles and shampoo. Initially, the flowers were pollinated by hand, requiring a large workforce and limiting efficiency, until in 1981 the African Palm Weevil was introduced to pollinate the plants and palm oil yields boomed ever since, while demand kept rising as worldwide palm oil started to replace the unhealthy trans fats in many processed products. The global increase of ultra-processed foods also made the demand for palm oil rise. However, the rapid expansion of palm oil plantations has led to the destruction of huge areas of tropical rainforest. In Thai, the tree is called ton palm nahm man.