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Date Palm Phoenix dactylifera


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Date Palms
credit: MPF/CCSA

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Family: Arecaceae, Palm view all from this family

Description A medium-sized plant, growing singly or forming a clump with several stems from a single root system. Leaves 3–5 m. long, spines on petiole, and pinnate, with about 150 leaflets; leaflets 30 cm. long and 2 cm. wide. Crown spans from 6 to 10 m. Fruit known as a date. Dates are oval-cylindrical, 3–7 cm. long, and 2–3 cm. diameter, range from bright red to bright yellow, single seed about 2–2.5 cm. long and 6–8 mm. thick. Dioecious, having separate male and female plants.

Dimensions Height: 7-15 m. (23-50 ft.).

Habitat Cities, suburbs & towns, Deserts.

Range Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, California, New England.

Discussion A palm in the genus Phoenix, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Although its place of origin is unknown because of long cultivation, it probably originated from lands around the Persian Gulf. The fruit's English name, as well as the Latin species name dactylifera, both come from the Greek word for "finger," d·ktulos, because of the fruit's elongated shape. Easily grown from seed, only 50% of seedlings will be female and hence fruit bearing. Most commercial plantations use cuttings of heavily cropping cultivars, plants grown from cuttings will fruit 2–3 years earlier than seedling plants. Second most useful palm tree in the world after the Coconut palm tree.