Date Palm

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Date Palm
Date Palms, Merzouga, Morocco
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Genus: Phoenix
Species: P. dactylifera
Binomial name
Phoenix dactylifera
L.
Date Palm
Date seller in the old souq in Kuwait City

The Date Palm is a tree. It has been cultivated for a very long time because of its edible fruit. This fruit is called date. The tree is between 15m and 25m high. It has long leaves that look like feathers. Such leaves are called pinnate. The leaves can grow to 3–5 metres in length. The leaves have visible spines. There are about 150 leaflets. Each leaflet can be up to 30 cm in length and 2 cm in breadth. The full span of the crown of the tree is 6 to 10 metres.

The tree has one or more trunks, that all come from a single system of roots.

Production[change | change source]

World production of dates was approximately 6.7 Mio tonnes in 2004 (FAO statistics). The major producers are:

  • Egypt: 1,100,000 t (16.2% of world production)
  • Iran: 880,000 t (13.0%)
  • Saudi Arabia: 830,000 t (12.3%)
  • United Arab Emirates: 760,000 t (11.2%)
  • Pakistan: 650,000 t (9.6%)
  • Algeria: 450,000 t (6.6%)
  • Sudan: 330,000 t
  • Oman: 240,000 t
  • Libya: 140,000 t
  • Others: 1,140,000 t
  • Iraq used to be a major producer of dates but in recent years production and exports have fallen considerably.

The First International Date Conference was held in Tripoli in 1959. In that conference, it was decided to develop a special program under the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to promote the commercial use of substandard or physically defective dates.