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Monday, December 23, 2013

Phoenix dactylifera - Date Palm

The date palm, most likely from Iraq but has been an important food crop for a really long time over most of the middle east. And who doesn't like dates. This is also a great palm to line streets. Usually single trunked in landscapes, up to 70' and 30' wide. Literature suggests these are suckering palms, though I have only seen pictures of them doing so. Best seen in a bit warmer climates.



This one is at Cal Poly with an very full crown.



Leaves are 10-20' long, pinnate, with 150 - 12" long leaflets. Leaves tend to be more gray green than green and held upright and not strongly arching. The long sharp spines at the base of the leaf are modified leaflets.



Flowers are dioecious, males and female plants. Commercial orchards have one male per 20 or more females. Orange sprays as seen above.


Trunks are cool, obvious leaf scars forming a spiral pattern of knobs up the stem.



Misidentification:
Phoenix canariensis most likely. Typically thinner heads, fewer leaves more grey-green leaves and not as common. 

Location
Santa Cruz 
Mission Plaza

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