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The Date  Palm (Phoenix  dactylifera)

Scientific classification          


Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Genus: Phoenix
Species: P. dactylifera

نخيل البلح

Binomial name

Phoenix dactylifera  L.                   



The genus Phoenix which date palm follows is characterized by the following:

1.      the leaves are pinnated and the leaflets are V-shaped.

2.      the seed (stone) of the fruit has specific furrow.

The specie dectylifera (date palm) is considered one of the most important species belong to the genus Phoenix.

This genus includes also other different species belong to the genus Phoenix. This genus includes also other different species such as Phoenix canariensis, which used as ornamental trees, Phoenix sylvestrics and others.

Date palm comes under sub- class Monocotyledon.

It is noticeable that monocotyledonous  trees are not many. The growth of date palm is resulted from the primary growth; therefore, it doesn’t increase in the thickness due to the absence of ring cambium. The external thickening is resulted from the expanding of the cells in volume.

 The leaves:

The leaves consist of mid – rib carrying the leaflets. The thickness of the mid- rib is increased at the Leaf base when attached to the palm trunk and narrowed at the apex. The palm cultivars are different in terms of leaves and leaflets lengths and shape. The leaves are pinnately compound forming what is called "Palm Crown". The growth of the leaves started from the apical bud (apical meristem) or so – called Gummara (the heart of the palm). Gummara is a white brittle mass with a relatively sweet sap, which is edible by some people. Locally they call it "Nakel Shahma". The palm froms 10- 20 leaf a year, depending on cultivar, agricultural practices and environmental factors. The leaf increases in volume up to age 5- 6 months from its emergence from apical meristem. The leaves are emerged in a special arrangement around the head axis to the right or to the left. That is what is called "Phyllotaxy".

 Nature & Reproduction:

Date palm trees are dioecious and the flowers are unisexual, having staminate (male) and pistillate (female) flowers borne on different individuals. That means, there are male palms and female palms.

The floral buds are originated in the axils of the leaves. The floral buds started to open approximately in late February till May. They grow forming the closed inflorences. The number of female inflorences differs from one year to another (alternate bearing), based on the cultivar and agricultural practices. The first inflorences emerges is the one near the terminal bud (meristematic apex).

The emerging of the inflorences continues in a spiral shape downward till the last bud beneath the "Gummara". The shape of the closed inflorences is either oval or rectangle. It's volume, color and shape are differed according to the cultivar and palms age.


The male and female inflorances consist of the following parts:

1.      Spathe: the container that surrounding the Spadix

2.      Spadix: is the compound spike which consists of the following parts.

a)      Spiklets: are fleshy thickened modified branches bearing flowers. The number of  spikelcts and their lengths differ based on the gender of the inflorescence and cultivar.

b)      Peduncle: its length varies from ¼ to 2 meters  ( 25 cm – 200 cm)

c)      Flowers: are regular sessile unisexual bearing on Spiklets directly.


Botanically, the fruit of the date palm is "berry", monospermal, simple fruit. Its shape and color   differ from one cultivar to another. It consists of the following parts:

1.      Pericarp which is composed of 3 layers:

a)      Exocarp: thin skinny wall.

b)      Mesocarp: the flesh of the fruit.

c)      Endocarp: transparent meabrane surrounding the seed directly.

 2.      Fruit cap: is the dry solid perianth remains which connect the fruit with the spikelet.


Is a rectangle bone body located in the middle of the fruit. The weight of the seed varies from 0.5 to 4 grams. The colour of the seed is differ from light brown to dark brown, according to the cultivar. The dorsal  side of the seed is convex having a small shallow hole called micropyle while the other side has furrow along the length of the seed.

It consists of the spathe, the embryo, and the endosperm. The embryo is directly located under the micropyle. It is monocotyledonous seed.


  -      Developmental stages of palm date fruit.

-          Thinning of palm date fruits . (in arabic)

-          Services (Agricultural practices) on palm head.  (in Arabic)

-          The chemical content of the fruits (differs from one cultivar to another).

 - Research Summary (Date Palm)

    Date Palm Basic Photo Gallery -

-          the chemical content of fruits for some international well known cultivars according to U.S.D.A:

1.      Deglet Noor.

2.      Madjool or Majhool. (They are cultivated cultivars in K.S.A)

-          The cultivation of the palm.  (in Arabic)

-          Estimation of the area and production of date palm for districts in K.S.A (in Arabic)

Parts of Extension Manual for Palm and Dates 

The file content [PDF  ]

 Propagation of date palm.  831 KB

Pouination in date palm trees.  730 KB

Pruning of date palm rees.  435 KB

Flowering and fruit thinning in date palm.  328 KB

Date cultivars in K.S.A.  433 KB

Fertilization of date palm trees.  332 KB

Written by a number of staff in the college of food and Agricultural Sciences – Riyadh



-      Cultivation and production of palm – Ministry of Agriculture and land reclamation – Egypt.

-          The practical Manual for palm cultivation (Ministry of Agrilture – K.S.A).

-          Book. The famous date cultivars in K.S.A See pages 139, 57, 58, 138 (Ministry of Agriculture, K.S.A).

-          The nutritional and remedial value of dates.

-          Survey study for genetic variations in tissue culture of palm.

-          Palms and dates production in United Arab Emirates.

-         Studies on date palm (Emirates center for Agricultural and Environmental Information).

-          Palm trees (State of Kuwait).

-          Date palm cultivation – FAO -bulletin.

-          The GCC countries of the Arabian Peninsula Date Palm.

-          Date Palm Conferences.

-          Date palm is infested by various pests, the most dangerous one is red palm weevil.

-          Palm insets and its pest control.

-          A key for initial identification of date diseases and pests.(Arabic)

-          Red palm weevil- ferrugineus Rhynchophorus.

-          Red palm weevil.

-          The red palm weevil in the Mediterranean Area.

-          Palm diseases in the United Arab Emirates.


 Some books on date palms: (in Arabic).

1.       Ibrahim Atef Mohamed and Mohamed Nazif Hagag kholif (1998). Date Palm, its cultivation and production in the Arab World, AL Mahoraf Establishment, Alexondria, Egypt.

2.       AL. Bakr Abd EL- Gabar. Date palm its past, present and the new in its cultivation, industry and trade (1972) AL. Any Printing – Iraq.

3.       Abd – EL- kadder Hesham Mahamed and AL-Hosini Mohamed Salah ( 1418H). Palm diseases " Prablems, disease diagnosis, Protection & remedy". AL Marek Est. K.A.S.

4.       AL- Weheby, Mohamed Hamed ( 2000). The biology of date palm. King Saud Univ. press . K.S.A.


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