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Date Palm

True Date Palm
Phoenix dactylifera

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Zone 8-9-10

True Date palm has been in cultivation for over 3,000 years in the Arab Middle East and North Africa.  In 1900, tons of Phoenix dactylifera suckers were taken, transported then brought to the United States.  That was the start of the date industry in America.  Recently, a 2,000 year old date palm seed was sprouted.  Amazing details are here

This is the Phoenix palm known as the true date palm because it produces large edible fruit, Phoenix dactylifera

Not grown from seed in Florida, these green-gray colored palms come shipped from Arizona and California where commercial groves plant them to raise fruit

As an illustration, here are some Pineapple Palms being prepared for transport

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Phoenix palms prefer dryer, cool night conditions so they fruit poorly in tropical and sub-tropical climates.  However, you will see them planted (usually large) all over Florida

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Maximum color is in summer when fruit matures. You need both male and female trees to set seed/fruit. Besides fruit, Phoenix dactylifera can be tapped for sugar once a year and can yield as much as 6-8 pounds per extraction

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The dactylifera is slow growing but rated tall between 70-100 feet. It is clump growing palm, but it takes many years to see pups. Sprouts should be removed. Roots may also develop on the trunk over time, as high as 6 feet from the ground

Typical is to artistically prune old frond to produce a fancy appearance on the trunk.  Here's one way

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Note how the fronds, which can be 20 feet long, are held high and very upright versus the common palm frond habit of drooping or an umbrella look. It is this stately "high" look that appeals to many

There are a number of popular named varieties:

  • dactylifera - Edible Date Palm
  • dactylifera - Barhi
  • dactylifera - Deglet Noor
  • dactylifera - Medjool
  • dactylifera - Zahidi

Deglet Noor is a preferred variety in California's commercial groves. It produces large soft fruit. Each female tree produces over 200 lbs. a year

For landscaping, the dactylifera is very expensive. They are typically sold as larger trees shipped at considerable expense from across the country. Expect to pay over $1,000 for a 12 footer plus a heavy planting charge as heavy equipment is always required. A 20 footer will run near $5,000 and a 30 footer near $7,000 plus planting and prep charges

Most often dactylifera are seen planted in mansion landscapes. Here's another photo

Fort Lauderdale planted a few on the beach at Las Olas Boulevard, yet they are not rated as salt tolerant, but they seem fine

Another wonder dactylifera-style palm is the Wild Date palm, Phoenix sylvestris, here and below

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These Phoenix sylvestris palms are on planted on Federal Highway, US-1, in Pompano Beach, FL, and show a particular professional pruning style

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