Phoenix dactylifera, commonly known as date or date palm, is a flowering plant species in the palm family, Arecaceae, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Although its place of origin is unknown because of long cultivation, it probably originated from the Fertile Crescent region straddling between Egypt and Mesopotamia. The species is widely cultivated across Northern Africa, The Middle East, The Horn of Africa and South Asia, and is naturalized in many tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. P. dactylifera is the type species of genus Phoenix, which contains 12–19 species of wild date palms, and is the major source of commercial production.
Date trees typically reach about 21–23 metres (69–75 ft) in height, growing singly or forming a clump with several stems from a single root system. Date fruits (dates) are oval-cylindrical, 3–7 cm (1.2–2.8 in) long, and about an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, ranging from bright red to bright yellow in color, depending on variety. They are very sweet, containing about 75 percent of sugar when dried.
Dates have been a staple food of the Middle East and the Indus Valley for thousands of years. There is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in Arabia from the 6th millennium BCE. The total annual world production of dates amounts to 8.5 million metric tons, countries of the Middle East and North Africa being the largest producers.
|Dates on date palm|
The species name dactylifera "date-bearing" comes from the Greek words daktylos (δάκτυλος), which means "date" (also "finger"), and fero (φέρω), which means "I bear". The fruit is known as a date. The fruit's English name (through Old French), as well as the Latin both come from the Greek word for "finger", dáktulos, because of the fruit's elongated shape.
Fossil records show that the date palm has existed for at least 50 million years.
Dates have been a staple food of the Middle East and the Indus Valley for thousands of years. There is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in eastern Arabia between 5530 and 5320 calBC. They are believed to have originated around what is now Iraq, and have been cultivated since ancient times from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians used the fruits to make date wine, and ate them at harvest.
There is archeological evidence of date cultivation in Mehrgarh around 7000 BCE, a Neolithic civilization in what is now western Pakistan. Evidence of cultivation is continually found throughout later civilizations in the Indus Valley, including the Harappan period 2600 to 1900 BCE.
In Ancient Rome the palm fronds used in triumphal processions to symbolize victory were most likely those of Phoenix dactylifera. The date palm was a popular garden plant in Roman peristyle gardens, though it would not bear fruit in the more temperate climate of Italy. It is recognizable in frescoes from Pompeii and elsewhere in Italy, including a garden scene from the House of the Wedding of Alexander.
A date palm cultivar, probably what used to be called Judean date palm, is renowned for its long-lived orthodox seed, which successfully sprouted after accidental storage for 2000 years. The upper survival time limit of properly stored seeds remains unknown.
A genomic study from New York University Abu Dhabi Center for Genomics and Systems Biology showed that domesticated date palm varieties from North Africa, including well-known varieties such as Medjool and Deglet Noor, are a hybrid between Middle East date palms and the Cretan wild palm P. theophrasti. Date palms appear in the archaeological record in North Africa about 2,800 years ago, suggesting that the hybrid was spread by the Minoans or Phoenicians.
Date trees typically reach about 21–23 metres (69–75 ft) in height, growing singly or forming a clump with several stems from a single root system. The leaves are 4–6 metres (13–20 ft) long, with spines on the petiole, and pinnate, with about 150 leaflets. The leaflets are 30 cm (12 in) long and 2 cm (0.79 in) wide. The full span of the crown ranges from 6–10 m (20–33 ft).
The date palm is dioecious, having separate male and female plants. They can be easily grown from seed, but only 50% of seedlings will be female and hence fruit bearing, and dates from seedling plants are often smaller and of poorer quality. Most commercial plantations thus use cuttings of heavily cropping cultivars. Plants grown from cuttings will fruit 2–3 years earlier than seedling plants.
Dates are naturally wind pollinated, but in both traditional oasis horticulture and in the modern commercial orchards they are entirely pollinated manually. Natural pollination occurs with about an equal number of male and female plants. However, with assistance, one male can pollinate up to 100 females. Since the males are of value only as pollinators, this allows the growers to use their resources for many more fruit-producing female plants. Some growers do not even maintain any male plants, as male flowers become available at local markets at pollination time. Manual pollination is done by skilled labourers on ladders, or by use of a wind machine. In some areas such as Iraq the pollinator climbs the tree using a special climbing tool that wraps around the tree trunk and the climber's back (called تبلية in Arabic) to keep him attached to the trunk while climbing.
Date fruits are oval-cylindrical, 3–7 cm (1.2–2.8 in) long, and 2–3 cm (0.79–1.18 in) diameter, and when ripe, range from bright red to bright yellow in colour, depending on variety. Dates contain a single stone about 2–2.5 cm (0.8–1.0 in) long and 6–8 mm (0.2–0.3 in) thick. Three main cultivar groups of date exist: soft (e.g. 'Barhee', 'Halawy', 'Khadrawy', 'Medjool'), semi-dry (e.g. 'Dayri', 'Deglet Noor', 'Zahdi'), and dry (e.g. 'Thoory'). The type of fruit depends on the glucose, fructose, and sucrose content.
Dates are an important traditional crop in Iraq, Iran, Arabia, and north Africa west to Morocco. Dates (especially Medjool and Deglet Noor) are also cultivated in America in southern California, Arizona and southern Florida in the United States and in Sonora and Baja California in Mexico.
Date palms can take 4 to 8 years after planting before they will bear fruit, and start producing viable yields for commercial harvest between 7 and 10 years. Mature date palms can produce 150–300 lb (70–140 kg) of dates per harvest season, although they do not all ripen at the same time so several harvests are required. In order to get fruit of marketable quality, the bunches of dates must be thinned and bagged or covered before ripening so that the remaining fruits grow larger and are protected from weather and animals that also live off of it, such as birds.
Date palms require well-drained deep sandy loam soils with pH 8-11. The soil should have the ability to hold the moisture. The soil should also be free from calcium carbonate.
|Top ten date producers – 2016|
(1000 metric tonnes, 1000 short tons)
|United Arab Emirates||672||741|
UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
A large number of date cultivars are grown. The most important are:
|Khunayzey||خنيزي||Um Ruhaim||ام رحيم||Hilali||هلالي||Nabtat Sultan||نبتة سلطان|
A major palm pest, the red palm beetle (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) currently poses a significant threat to date production in parts of the Middle East as well as to iconic landscape specimens throughout the Mediterranean world.
In the 1920s, eleven healthy Madjool palms were transferred from Morocco to the United States where they were tended by members of the Chemehuevi tribe in a remote region of Nevada. Nine of these survived and in 1935, cultivars were transferred to the "U.S. Date Garden" in Indio, California. Eventually this stock was reintroduced to Africa and led to the U.S. production of dates in Yuma, Arizona and the Bard Valley in California.
Dry or soft dates are eaten out-of-hand, or may be pitted and stuffed with fillings such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, candied orange and lemon peel, tahini, marzipan or cream cheese. Pitted dates are also referred to as stoned dates. Partially dried pitted dates may be glazed with glucose syrup for use as a snack food. Dates can also be chopped and used in a range of sweet and savory dishes, from tajines (tagines) in Morocco to puddings, ka'ak (types of Arab cookies) and other dessert items. Date nut bread, a type of cake, is very popular in the United States, especially around holidays. Dates are also processed into cubes, paste called "'ajwa", spread, date syrup or "honey" called "dibs" or "rub" in Libya, powder (date sugar), vinegar or alcohol. Vinegar made from dates is a traditional product of the Middle East. Recent innovations include chocolate-covered dates and products such as sparkling date juice, used in some Islamic countries as a non-alcoholic version of champagne, for special occasions and religious times such as Ramadan. When Muslims break fast in the evening meal of Ramadan, it is traditional to eat a date first.
Reflecting the maritime trading heritage of Britain, imported chopped dates are added to, or form the main basis of a variety of traditional dessert recipes including sticky toffee pudding, Christmas pudding and date and walnut loaf. They are particularly available to eat whole at Christmas time. Dates are one of the ingredients of HP Sauce, a popular British condiment.
Dates can also be dehydrated, ground and mixed with grain to form a nutritious stockfeed.
In Israel date syrup, termed "silan", is used while cooking chicken and also for sweet and desserts, and as a honey substitute.
Dates are one of the ingredients of Jallab, a Middle-Eastern fruit syrup.
In Pakistan, a viscous, thick syrup made from the ripe fruits is used as a coating for leather bags and pipes to prevent leaking.
|Dates, Deglet Noor|
Deglet Noor dates
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||1,178 kJ (282 kcal)|
75.03 g (2.647 oz)
|Sugars||63.35 g (2.235 oz)|
|Dietary fiber||8 g (0.28 oz)|
0.39 g (0.014 oz)
2.45 g (0.086 oz)
|Vitamin A equiv.|
|Vitamin A||10 IU|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)|
|Water||20.53 g (0.724 oz)|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Dates provide a wide range of essential nutrients, and are a very good source of dietary potassium. The sugar content of ripe dates is about 80%; the remainder consists of protein, fiber, and trace elements including boron, cobalt, copper, fluorine, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and zinc. The glycemic index for three different varieties of dates are 35.5 (khalas), 49.7 (barhi), and 30.5 (bo ma'an).
Date seeds are soaked and ground up for animal feed. Their oil is suitable for use in soap and cosmetics. Date palm seeds contain 0.56–5.4% lauric acid. They can also be processed chemically as a source of oxalic acid. Date seeds are also ground and used in the manner of coffee beans, or as an additive to coffee. Experimental studies have shown that feeding mice with the aqueous extract of date pits exhibit anti-genotoxic and reduce DNA damage induced by N-nitroso-N-methylurea.
Stripped fruit clusters are used as brooms. Recently the floral stalks have been found to be of ornamental value in households.
Date palm leaves are used for Palm Sunday in the Christian religion. In North Africa, they are commonly used for making huts. Mature leaves are also made into mats, screens, baskets and fans. Processed leaves can be used for insulating board. Dried leaf petioles are a source of cellulose pulp, used for walking sticks, brooms, fishing floats and fuel. Leaf sheaths are prized for their scent, and fibre from them is also used for rope, coarse cloth, and large hats. The leaves are also used as a lulav in the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
Young date leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable, as is the terminal bud or heart, though its removal kills the palm. The finely ground seeds are mixed with flour to make bread in times of scarcity. The flowers of the date palm are also edible. Traditionally the female flowers are the most available for sale and weigh 300–400 grams (11–14 oz). The flower buds are used in salad or ground with dried fish to make a condiment for bread.
Dates are mentioned more than 50 times in the Bible and 20 times in the Qur'an. In Islamic culture, dates and yogurt or milk are traditionally the first foods consumed for Iftar after the sun has set during Ramadan.
The date palm represents the provincial tree of Balochistan (Pakistan) (unofficial).
Phoenix dactylifera held great significance in early Judaism and subsequently in Christianity, in part because the tree was heavily cultivated as a food source in ancient Israel. In the Bible palm trees are referenced as symbols of prosperity and triumph. In Psalm 92:12 "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree". Palm branches occurred as iconography in sculpture ornamenting the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, on Jewish coins, and in the sculpture of synagogues. They are also used as ornamentation in the Feast of the Tabernacles. Palm branches were scattered before Jesus as he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
Abu Al-Khaseeb (sometimes spelled Abu Al-Khasib) is a town in Abu Al-Khaseeb District, Basra Governorate, southern Iraq. Its name means "The rich area - agricultural", referring to the fertile Shatt Al-Arab river. It is an agricultural town, well known for its date palm farms on the river. It is predominantly Shia. Abu Al-Khaseeb has long been a traditional center for boat-building of the mashoof canoes that are widely used by the Marsh Arabs.Al-Meshkhab District
Al-Meshkhab is a district located in Najaf Governorate. Its seat is the city of Al-Meshkhab. Soil of Al-Meshkhab is fertile, alluvial, and a good irrigated by Meshkhab Channel (derived from Euphrates River). Agricultural is main source of income in Al-Meshkhab .crops such as rice, Date palm, and wheat planted there densely.
total inhabitants are Arab Shia Islam .Arecaceae
The Arecaceae are a botanical family of perennial plants. Their growth form can be climbers, shrubs, trees and stemless plants, all commonly known as palms. Those having a tree form are colloquially called palm trees. They are flowering plants, a family in the monocot order Arecales. Currently 181 genera with around 2600 species are known, most of them restricted to tropical and subtropical climates. Most palms are distinguished by their large, compound, evergreen leaves, known as fronds, arranged at the top of an unbranched stem. However, palms exhibit an enormous diversity in physical characteristics and inhabit nearly every type of habitat within their range, from rainforests to deserts.
Palms are among the best known and most extensively cultivated plant families. They have been important to humans throughout much of history. Many common products and foods are derived from palms. In contemporary times, palms are also widely used in landscaping, making them one of the most economically important plants. In many historical cultures, because of their importance as food, palms were symbols for such ideas as victory, peace, and fertility. For inhabitants of cooler climates today, palms symbolize the tropics and vacations.Coconut sugar
Coconut sugar (also known as coco sugar, coconut palm sugar, coco sap sugar or coconut blossom sugar) is a palm sugar produced from the sap of the flower bud stem of the coconut palm.Other types of palm sugar are made from the Palmyra palm, the date palm, the sugar date palm, the sago palm or the sugar palm.
Used as a sweetener in many countries, coconut sugar has no significant nutritional or health benefits over other sweeteners.Date
Date or dates may refer to:
Date (fruit), the fruit of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera)Geno Biosphere Reserve
The Geno Biosphere Reserve, with a total area of 27,500 hectares, situated in the Hormozgan province of Iran. It has been designated as a protected area by the Iranian Department of Environment in 1976.Geno has mountains as high as 3,000 meters above sea level, and in light of this, has a unique climatic and biosphere conditions within the Persian gulf region.
UNESCO reported about 40,300 people living within the boundaries of the biosphere reserve in 2000.Beside a number of hot springs situated in the area, flora and fauna include:
Flora: pomegranate, date palm, black maidenhair fern, caraway, common yarrow, pennyroyal, milkweed, primrose
mammals: gazelle, gray wolf, bear, fox, leopard, wild boar, hyena, jackal, rabbit,
birds: grey partridge, eagle, falcon, Eurasian collared dove, see-see partridge, common wood pigeon, cinereous vulture, lark, pipit, common house martin, white-eared bulbulJaggery
Jaggery is a traditional non-centrifugal cane sugar consumed in some countries in Asia and the Americas. It is a concentrated product of cane juice and often date or palm sap (see: palm sugar) without separation of the molasses and crystals, and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in colour. It contains up to 50% sucrose, up to 20% invert sugars, and up to 20% moisture, with the remainder made up of other insoluble matter, such as wood ash, proteins, and bagasse fibres. Ancient scriptures on Ayurveda mention various medicinal uses based on method of preparation and age.
Unrefined, it is known by various names, including "panela", in other parts of the world.Jaynagarer Moa
Jaynagarer Moa is a seasonal Bengali sweetmeat delicacy prepared from date palm jaggery and Kanakchur khoi. This variety of Moa originated in Jaynagar city of South 24 Parganas district in the Indian State of West Bengal. It is now a popular sweet, being produced in Kolkata and elsewhere, sometimes with cheaper ingredients and chemical flavours. Jaynagarer Moa was given a Geographical Indication tag in 2015 which will enable the product to be protected from unauthorized uses and piracy.Judean date palm
The Judean date palm is a date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) grown in Judea. It is not clear whether there was ever a single distinct Judean cultivar, but dates grown in the region have had distinctive reputations for thousands of years, and the date palm was anciently regarded as a symbol of the region and its fertility. Cultivation of dates in the region almost disappeared after the fourteenth century AD from a combination of climate change and infrastructure decay but has been revived in modern times.
In 2005, a preserved 2000-year-old seed sprouted. It is the oldest verified human-assisted germination of a seed (the claim in 2012 of a 32,000-year-old arctic flower involved fruit tissue rather than a seed). The palm, named Methuselah (not to be confused with a bristlecone pine tree of the same name), was about 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) tall in June 2008. As of November 2011, it is reported at 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) high, having been transplanted from pot to earth. By May 2015, the palm was 3.0 metres (9.8 ft) tall and was producing pollen.Even if the pollination of a female Judean date palm, grown of a seed from the same batch, with Methuselah's pollen should succeed, the resulting fruit would not represent the recreation of the original ancient cultivar, i.e. the resulting fruit will not have the taste of its ancient predecessor, given that cultivars are created through repeated asexual reproduction through shoots, and not through seeds.Lulav
Lulav ([lu'lav]; Hebrew: לולב) is a closed frond of the date palm tree. It is one of the Four Species used during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The other Species are the hadass (myrtle), aravah (willow), and etrog (citron). When bound together, the lulav, hadass, and aravah are commonly referred to as "the lulav".Oasis
In geography, an oasis (; plural: oases ) is the combination of a human settlement and a cultivated area (often a date palm grove) in a desert or semi-desert environment. Oases also provide habitat for animals and spontaneous plants.Palm branch
The palm branch is a symbol of victory, triumph, peace, and eternal life originating in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean world. The palm (Phoenix) was sacred in Mesopotamian religions, and in ancient Egypt represented immortality. In Judaism, the lulav, a closed frond of the date palm is part of the festival of Sukkot. A palm branch was awarded to victorious athletes in ancient Greece, and a palm frond or the tree itself is one of the most common attributes of Victory personified in ancient Rome.
In Christianity, the palm branch is associated particularly with Palm Sunday, when according to Christian tradition palm branches were waved at the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It was adopted into Christian iconography to represent the victory of martyrs, or the victory of the spirit over the flesh.
Since a victory signals an end to a conflict or competition, the palm developed into a symbol of peace, a meaning it can have in Islam, where it is often associated with Paradise.
The palm appears on several flags or seals representing countries or other places, with the coconut palm associated with the tropics.Palmeral of Elche
The Palmeral or Palm Grove of Elche (Spanish: Palmeral de Elche, Valencian: Palmerar d'Elx) is the generic name used to designate a system of date palm orchards in the city of Elche (Spain).
Currently, in the urban area of Elche there are a total of 97 different orchards containing about 70,000 date palms, mostly in the east bank of the Vinalopó. This number does not include other large plantations located around the city proper. All together, the number may be close to 200,000 palms.
The Palm Grove covers over 3.5 km2 (1.4 sq mi), including 1.5 km2 (0.58 sq mi) within the city of Elche.
It is the only palm grove of its type anywhere in Europe,the northernmost of its kind and one of the largest in the world, surpassed in size only by some in Arab countries.Phoenix (plant)
Phoenix is a genus of 14 species of palms, native to an area starting from the Canary Islands in the west, across northern and central Africa, to the extreme southeast of Europe (Crete), and continuing throughout southern Asia from Turkey east to southern China and Malaysia. The diverse habitats they occupy include swamps, deserts, and mangrove sea coasts. Most Phoenix species originate in semiarid regions, but usually occur near high groundwater levels, rivers, or springs. The genus is unusual among members of subfamily Coryphoideae in having pinnate, rather than palmate leaves; tribe Caryoteae also have pinnate or bipinnate leaves.The palms were more numerous and widespread in the past than they are at present. Some Phoenix palms have become naturalised in other parts of the world; in particular, the date palm's long history of cultivation means that escaped plants in the past have long-since become ingrained into the native ecosystems of countries far from its original range in the middle east.Phoenix canariensis
Phoenix canariensis is a species of flowering plant in the palm family Arecaceae, native to the Canary Islands. It is a relative of Phoenix dactylifera, the true date palm. It is the natural symbol of the Canary Islands, together with the canary Serinus canaria. Mature P. canariensis are often used in ornamental landscaping and are collected and transplanted to their new planting location. A Canary Island Date Palm with 10 m (30 ft) of trunk is approximately 60 years of age.Phoenix reclinata
The Wild date palm or Senegal date palm (Phoenix reclinata, reclinata - Latin, reclining) is a species of flowering plant in the palm family native to tropical Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. It is also reportedly naturalized in Florida, Puerto Rico, Bermuda and the Leeward Islands. The plants are found from sea level to 3000 m, in rain forest clearings, monsoonal forests and rocky mountainsides.Phoenix roebelenii
Phoenix roebelenii, with common names of pygmy date palm, miniature date palm or just robellini, is a species of date palm native to southeastern Asia, from southwestern China (Yunnan Province), northern Laos and northern Vietnam, (in Dien Bien Province, Ha Giang Province, Cao Bang Province, Lang Son Province).The Latin specific epithet roebelenii honours the orchid collector Carl Roebelen (1855-1927)Phoenix sylvestris
Phoenix sylvestris (sylvestris - Latin, of the forest) also known as silver date palm, Indian date, sugar date palm or wild date palm, is a species of flowering plant in the palm family native to southern Pakistan, most of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and Bangladesh. It is also reportedly naturalized in Mauritius, the Chagos Archipelago, Puerto Rico and the Leeward Islands. Growing in plains and scrubland up to 1300 m above sea level, the fruit from this palm species is used to make wine and jelly. The sap is tapped and drunk fresh or fermented into toddy. The fresh sap is boiled to make palm jaggery in West Bengal state of India and Bangladesh.Tolga, Algeria
Tolga (Arabic: طولقة) is a municipality in Biskra Province, Algeria. Located in south-east Algeria, 363km south of the capital Algiers(34° 43' 00" N and 5° 23' 00" E). Tolga is well known internationally for high-quality dates (Deglet Nour). It has more than 500,000 date palm trees. Most dates produced are exported.