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Borassus akeassii - Bayton, Ou?dr. & Guinko

Common Name African Fan Palm
Family Arecaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Savannahs, often in close proximity to human settlements[ 325 ].
Range Semi-arid and sub-humid zones of Africa from Senegal to Sudan.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Borassus akeassii African Fan Palm

Borassus akeassii African Fan Palm
wikimedia.org User:Marco_Schmidt


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Borassus akeassii or African Fan Palm is an evergreen, single-stemmed palm up to 15 m high and 40 to 50 cm in diameter. The roots of this species are used as a mouthwash and as treatment for stomach parasites, asthma, and sore throat. The plant produces a sap that is fermented into wine. The fruit is eaten fresh or dried. Young seedlings and the terminal bud of the palm are consumed as vegetable. The leaves have various uses and the wood produces high quality timber that is resistant to termites and fungi. Other Names: Ake Assi's, Palmyra Palm

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Borassus akeassii is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Borassus aethiopum domesticus A.Chev.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Sap  Shoots
Edible Uses: Drink

The apical bud is hollowed out and the resulting sap is collected and fermented. The wine is made for sale enhancing local earnings), to drink at traditional ceremonies, as well as forming a part of the balanced diet in many rural areas, and used for aphrodisiac preparations[ 325 ]. Excessive tapping of the sap kills the plant[ 325 ]. Fruit - fresh or dried[ 335 ]. Eaten as a food supplement[ 325 ]. The fruit is 15cm in diameter and is produced in large clusters[ 335 ]. The endosperm of immature seeds - raw[ 335 ]. Young seedlings - eaten as a vegetable like asparagus[ 317 ]. The terminal bud of the palm is used as palm cabbage[ 317 ]. Eating this bud leads to the eventual death of the plant since it is unable to produce side shoots[ K ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anthelmintic  Antiasthmatic  Aphrodisiac  Mouthwash

The roots serve for the treatment of stomach parasites, sore throats and asthma, as well as being used for a mouthwash[ 325 ]

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


Other uses rating: Medium (3/5). Other Uses The leaves are used for various purposes including for shelter[ 314 ]. The dark brown, coarsely fibrous wood is a highly prized timber locally[ 325 ]. It is very resistant to termites and fungi, and is used in carpentry, construction and also for household articles[ 325 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

It is found in areas with a mean annual rainfall in the range 800 - 1,100mm[ 325 ]. Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil[ 325 ]. Plants are able to extract nutrients, and thus grow, on very nutrient-poor soils[ 325 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant[ 314 ]. Established plants can resist fires[ 325 ]. A slow-growing but long lived tree to over 100 years old[ 325 ]. It does not start flowering until middle-aged[ 325 ]. A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - it has a short viability and should be sown as soon as it is removed from the fruit pulp[ 325 ]. The seed does not require pre-treatment and germinated in about 4 weeks. The plant produces a very long taproot, which can be 1 metre long when top growth is only 1cm tall, and so it is best sown in situ[ 325 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Borassus akeassii or African Fan Palm. Other Names: Ake Assi's, Palmyra Palm

Coming Soon

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Borassus aethiopumAfrican Fan Palm, Palmyra PalmTree20.0 10-12 SLMHNM423
Borassus flabelliferPalmyra PalmTree20.0 10-12 MLMHNDM423

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


Bayton, Ou?dr. & Guinko

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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