Flora Colombia 1: 203 (1897)
Alfonsia oleifera Kunth
Understorey palm. Stem subterranean or prostrate, 10-20 cm in diameter, erect only for a few meters. Leaves 3-4 m long; pinnae 30-90 on each side, regularly inserted in one plane, the central ones to 60 cm long and 4 cm wide. Inflorescence 50-80 cm long, with ca. 50 branches, these 10-15 cm long, with flowers borne singly and partly sunken into pits; male branches 5-10 mm in diameter, with densely positioned flowers to 5 mm long at anthesis; female branches to 15 mm in diameter, with more loosely inserted flowers, to 1 cm long. Fruits yellowish orange to red, oblong, ca. 3 cm long.
Scattered throughout Central America and N South America from Venezuela to Peru. In Ecuador it is uncommon in the E lowlands on poorly drained soil and along streams and rivers. Its present distribution may, at least in part, be anthropogenically determined (Baleé, 1989).
(Borchsenius et al. 1998).
(H.B. Pedersen #97613).
In 1965 a 39 hectare experimentsal plantation was established at the INIAPfield station near Sto. Domingo de los Colorados, apparently from imported seeds, to provide material for cross-breeding with E. guineensis, as hybrid individuals appear to have some advantages compared with the latter species, e.g. an oil richer in unsaturated fatty acids, a lower annual stem increment, and increased pest-resistance
(Meunier & Hardon 1976).
No uses of wild stands of this species have been recorded in Ecuador, but in other parts of its distribution area oil is extracted from the mesocarp and used in cooking
(Henderson et al. 1995).
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