‘Nega Oil’ is an Antiguan name and is very common north of All Saints village and may be seen as transplanted ornamentals at hotel developments. This palm is supposed to have been introduced into Freeman’s Estate from Africa in colonial times of the 18th century. Camels were introduced as beasts of burden and these plants were to be used as fodder. The camels died of hoof disease in the comparatively damp soil of Antigua, but the palms lived on. The leaves are used in handcrafts for weaving hats and brooms are made. Children eat the black seeds, but a desert climate is required to produce dates.
Special thanks to the late Desmond Nicholson of the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda and Peter Duce for making this section of Antigua Nice Ltd possible!