Leaves up to 8 m; segments ca. 120 cm. Fruits ca. 4 cm; ripening from green to yellow to red or black, 4 cm; endocarp black, 3-sided, bearing 3 germination pores. 2n = 32. Flowering spring-- through summer. Moist organic soil over limestone in mesic hammocks and disturbed wooded areas; 0--10 m; introduced; Fla.; native, to Africa. Elaeis guineensis is widespread in wet tropical Africa. It is now cultivated throughout the tropics, where it is the most important perennial oil crop, the source of both palm oil and palm kernel oil. E.laeis guineensis has escaped in the vicinity of Miami, Florida, and may be counted as an element of the flora. Birds and small mammals eat the oil fruits and disperse the seeds. Juveniles are easily recognized by the very sharp, spinescent remains of leaf segment midribs at the base of each leaf.