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Date Palm

Date Palm

The fruit of the Date Palm is a drupe known as a date. They are oval-cylindrical, 3-7 cm long, and 2-3 cm diameter, and when unripe, range from bright red to bright yellow in color, depending on variety.A 100 gram portion of fresh dates is a premium source of vitamin C and supplies 230 kcal of energy. Since dates contain relatively little water, they do not become much more concentrated upon drying, although the vitamin C disappears in the process.

Date Palms are a very historically important type of palm tree because they are a source of food that has supplied nutrition to millions of people over thousands of years.  But, before we can really talk about “Date Palm Trees”, we must first decide what we are talking about.  When you talk to a taxonomist or palm enthusiast and say “Date Palm”, he will automatically think of the true Date Palm, Phoenix dactylifera.   This is the species that makes the date fruit that is so commonly eaten.  But, when you talk to the average person, “Date Palm” may mean any palm in the group or in fact, any palm at all.  Some use the term “Date Palm” and “Palm Tree” synonymously.

When we talk about the Date Palm, we are discussing the group of palms known as Phoenix palms.  This genus would include everything from the true Date Palm, Phoenix dactylifera, to the Canary Island Date Palm, Phoenix canariensis.  Many have heard of the Pygmy Date Palm.  It is in this genus Phoenix as well.  But, only one plant, the true Date Palm, gives fruit that is edible and marketable.   

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