Oil palm Elaeis guineensis African tree in the palm family Arecaceae cultivated as a source of oil. The oil palm is grown extensively in its native West and Central Africa, as well as in Malaysia and Indonesia. Palm oil, obtained from the fruits, is used in making soaps cosmetics candles biofuels and lubricating greases and in processing tinplate and coating iron plates. Palm kernel oil from the seeds is used in manufacturing such edible products as margarine ice cream chocolate confections, cookies, and bread as well as many pharmaceuticals. The cake residue after kernel oil is extracted is a cattle feed. The plant is also grown as an ornamental in many subtropical areas.