Table of Contents
Phoenix dactylifera Linn. Family
Phoenix dactylifera Linn. English Name
Phoenix dactylifera Linn. Local Name
Phoenix dactylifera Linn. Description
A tall evergreen tree attaining a height of 30 to 35 m. The stem is covered with the stumps of old leaves from the bottom to the top except for the space occupied by existing whorls of large frond like grey leaves. Leaflets make an acute angle with the rachis and are up to 2.5 m long. Base of stem is surrounded by suckers. Male flowers are white, in short compact pinnacles 15 to 22 cm long. It flowers between March and April. The fruit is full of nourishment, sweet and tasty, up to 5 cm long. It has no known insect or fungi problems, but the fruit must be covered with nets to save it from birds and squirrels. It is reproduced from seed or suckers which are plentiful around the base of the main stem. Its growth is slow especially when young. It takes about 10 years to attain a height of 2 m. Interlocked grain, Sapwood is greyish white having high density and hard but not durable strength.
Phoenix dactylifera Linn. Distribution
The tree has reportedly been introduced to the Subcontinent by Muslims from Middle East countries. It has become naturalized in several southern districts of Punjab and NWFP, and in parts of Sindh and Balochistan. The tree grows well in an arid climate in saline soils but requires plenty of moisture. It can withstand temperatures up to 45°C. The tree grows naturally in its habitat and spreads by suckers and seed distributed by birds.
Phoenix dactylifera Linn. Uses
Several edible varieties have been developed which are managed as garden trees or in agroforestry systems. Also used in rafters, support posts, and fruit.