The oil palm is the world's most valuable oil crop. With palm oil production increasing by more than 50% in the last decade of the twentieth century and set to double in the next twenty years, it has never before been so important to understand the history, use and cultivation of this fascinating crop. There have been many new developments since the third edition of The Oil Palm in 1988, particularly in the fields of clonal propagation, agronomy, breeding and molecular genetics. This new edition has been completely rewritten, and is the first book to record and explore these and many other developments. The book traces the origins and progress of the industry, and describes the basic science underlying the physiology, breeding and nutrition of the oil palm. It covers both cutting-edge research, and wider issues such as genetic modification of the crop, the promise of clonal propagation, and the effects of palm oil on human health. The practical problems of maximising yield of oil and kernels are discussed in relation to the present 'yield gap' and oil extraction rate decline in Malaysia. The oil palm is also compared to the soya bean and other oil crops, and the recent history of the price of oil palm products is considered in the light of this. The Oil Palm makes an essential contribution to oil palm research and will be an indispensable reference and guide for agricultural students, researchers and all those working, worldwide, in the oil palm industry.