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Botany

Date palm trees (Phoenix dactylifera) thrive with “their feet in water and their heads in the sun.”  Since they need plenty of water and high heat to produce fruit, date palms grow best in hot arid climates, where the underground water supply is plentiful. 

Date palms can live 100 years or more and grown up to 100 feet in that time.  Date palm trees grow 12 to 18 inches in diameter.  The tree is dioecious, meaning there are female and male plants.  Flowers are borne in bunches at the top of the tree.  Only female trees produce fruit, but one male tree can produce enough pollen to pollinate 40-50 female trees.  A date palm tree starts producing fruit in 3 to 5 years and is fully mature in 12 years.  One mature female tree produces 150-200 pounds of fruit annually.

 

Sources:  Imported and American varieties of dates (Phoenix dactylifera) in the United States by Donald R. Hodel, Dennis V. Johnson, Roy Wesley Nixon. Oakland, CA:  ANR Publications, 2007 ; “Date Palm” article in the Food Museum Online website, http://www.foodmuseum.com/datepalm.html ; “The Date, Phoenix Dactylifera” by P. Gepts, http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/gepts/pb143/CROP/Date/Date.htm

 

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