date palm

any of several date-bearing palms of the genus Phoenix, esp. P. dactylifera, having a stem reaching a height of 60 ft. (18 m) and terminating in a crown of pinnate leaves.

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Tree (Phoenix dactylifera) of the palm family, found in the Canary Islands and northern Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, and California.

The trunk, strongly marked with the pruned stubs of old leaf bases, ends in a crown of long, graceful, shining, pinnate leaves. The fruit, called the date, is a usually oblong brown berry. Dates have long been an important food in desert regions, and are the source of syrup, alcohol, vinegar, and a strong liquor. All parts of the tree yield products of economic value, being used variously for timber, furniture, basketry, fuel, rope, and packing material. The seeds are sometimes used as stock feed. The tree is grown as an ornamental along the Mediterranean shores of Europe. Its leaves are used for the celebration of Palm Sunday (among Christians) and the Feast of Tabernacles (among Jews). Date sugar, a product of India, is obtained from the sap of a closely related species, P. sylvestris.

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 (Phoenix dactylifera), tree of the palm family (Arecaceae, or Palmae), found in the Canary Islands, northern Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, and the U.S. state of California. The date palm grows about 23 metres (75 feet) tall. Its stem, strongly marked with the pruned stubs of old leaf bases, terminates in a crown of graceful, shining, pinnate leaves about 5 metres (16 feet) long. Floral spikes branch from the axils of leaves that emerged the previous year. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. Under cultivation the female flowers are artificially pollinated. The date is a one-seeded fruit, or berry, usually oblong but varying much in shape, size, colour, quality, and consistency of flesh, according to the conditions of culture. More than 1,000 dates may appear on a single bunch weighing 8 kg (18 pounds) or more. The dried fruit is more than 50 percent sugar by weight and contains about 2 percent each of protein, fat, and mineral matter.

 The date palm has been cultivated and prized from remotest antiquity; its fruit has been the staple food and chief source of wealth in the irrigable deserts of North Africa and the Middle East. Spanish missionaries carried the tree to the New World in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

      All parts of the date palm yield products of economic value. Its trunk furnishes timber; the midribs of the leaves supply material for crates and furniture; the leaflets, for basketry; the leaf bases, for fuel; the fruit stalks, for rope and fuel; the fibre, for cordage and packing material; and the seeds are sometimes ground and used as stock feed. Syrup, alcohol, vinegar, and a strong liquor are derived from the fruit. The sap is also used as a beverage, either fresh or fermented, but, because the method of extraction seriously injures the palm, only those trees that produce little fruit are used for sap. When a palm is cut down, the tender terminal bud is eaten as a salad.

      The tree is propagated either from seeds or from suckers, offshoots that arise chiefly near the base of the stem in the early years of the life of the palm. Offshoots are used for commercial plantings. When offshoots are three to six years old and have formed roots of their own, they are removed and planted. Palms begin to bear fruit in 4 to 5 years and reach full bearing at 10 to 15 years, yielding 40 to 80 kg (90 to 180 pounds) or more each. Palms are known to live as long as 150 years, but their fruit production declines, and in commercial culture they are replaced at an earlier age.

      Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, and Iraq are the leading date-producing and exporting countries, although fruit from Algeria and Tunisia also is well known in Europe. California is the major American producer. The date palm is grown as an ornamental tree along the Mediterranean shores of Europe, and its leaves are used for the celebration of Palm Sunday among Christians and for the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth) among Jews. Date sugar, a commercial product of India, is obtained from the sap of a closely related species, Phoenix sylvestris.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Date palm — Date Date, n.[F. datte, L. dactylus, fr. Gr. ?, prob. not the same word as da ktylos finger, but of Semitic origin.] (Bot.) The fruit of the date palm; also, the date palm itself. [1913 Webster] Note: This fruit is somewhat in the shape of an… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Date Palm — The leaf fibres of the common date palm are used in Barbary for making bags. They are also used for ropes, cords, baskets and hats. Bentley (Manual of Botany) says the leaves, the fibres obtained from the leaf stalks, the wood, and every part of… …   Dictionary of the English textile terms

  • date palm — date palms N COUNT A date palm is a palm tree on which dates grow …   English dictionary

  • date palm — date′ palm n. pln any tall date bearing palm of the genus Phoenix, esp. P. dactylifera, topped by pinnate leaves • Etymology: 1830–40 …   From formal English to slang

  • date palm — n. a cultivated desert palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera) that has a stout trunk and large leaves and bears dates …   English World dictionary

  • date palm — noun tall tropical feather palm tree native to Syria bearing sweet edible fruit • Syn: ↑Phoenix dactylifera • Hypernyms: ↑feather palm • Part Meronyms: ↑date * * * noun : date I 2 …   Useful english dictionary

  • date palm — datulinis finikas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Arekinių šeimos dekoratyvinis, maistinis, medieninis, pašarinis, pluoštinis, vaisinis, vaistinis augalas (Phoenix dactylifera), kilęs iš pietvakarių Azijos. Naudojamas gėrimams gaminti.… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • date palm — finikas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Arekinių (Arecaceae) šeimos augalų gentis (Phoenix). atitikmenys: lot. Phoenix angl. date palm vok. Dattelpalme; Phoenix rus. пальма финиковая; феникс; финик lenk. daktylowiec …   Dekoratyvinių augalų vardynas

  • date palm — palm tree bearing dates …   English contemporary dictionary

  • date palm — noun A palm tree, Phoenix dactylifera, whose fruit is the date …   Wiktionary

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