The analysis of bunch production in the oil palm

L.D. Sparnaaij

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Bunch yield of oil palms can be expressed as the product of number of bunches and average bunch weight. Number of bunches is itself composite, being determined by number of leaves, percentage floral abortion, sex ratio and percentage bunch failure. Of these elements sex ratio proved to be most strongly influenced by age, environment and genetic constitution.

Detailed data from a number of cultural experiments on the effects of intercropping, cultivation, manuring and pruning were used to study the effects of various treatments on individual components of yield. The clear response of sex ratio to cultural treatments could be traced to a positive correlation with light intensity and a negative correlation with total nitrogen in soil, in particular during periods of insufficient sunlight. These findings led to the hypothesis that environment affects sex ratio and therefore bunch number, through the ratio between carbohydrate assimilation and nitrogen uptake.

Yield analysis thus facilitated the interpretation of the results of agronomic trials, particularly in Africa where yields were often limited through insufficient sunlight. In breeding of oil palms, yield analysis could enable the plant breeder to estimate the performance of his material under different conditions and could reveal the interactions between sex ratio, fruit quality and sterility.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Coolhaas, C., Promotor, External person
Award date18 Dec 1959
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publication statusPublished - 1959
Externally publishedYes


  • elaeis guineensis
  • oil palms
  • botany


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