How and where dates grow in the wild and in culture, including in the open ground and at home

Dates are one of the most important staple foods for the population of hot deserts and semi-deserts in the tropical and subtropical regions of North Africa and West Asia. Their dried fruits are sold in stores around the world. Some types of dates are also popular as decorative indoor plants.

Date palm - the most important fruit crop of tropical deserts and semi-deserts

Dates are the fruits of a date palm. All the numerous varieties of dates presented on the world market belong to the same botanical species - palm dates (real date palm).

The fruits of some other types of date palms are also edible and used for food by the local population in the regions of their growth, but these fruits do not enter the world market.

Dates - Date Palm Fruits

Real date palm is widely grown in North Africa, West Asia, Pakistan and in the arid regions of India. Small palmate date plantations are also found on the Mediterranean coast of southern Europe, in the hot arid regions of the United States, Australia and South Africa. This is one of the few plants ideally adapted to the hot dry climate of the southern deserts and semi-deserts.

Dates are widely grown along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea, including in southern Europe.

For date plantations, sunny places with the presence of underground aquifers or with the possibility of artificial irrigation are chosen. When planting, seedlings are placed according to the scheme of 8 x 8 or 10 x 10 meters, depending on varietal characteristics and soil conditions. As planting material, offspring from adult fruiting plants are used. Date palm seedlings are very heterogeneous in terms of their economic characteristics and are not used for laying industrial plantations.

When and how do dates bloom

Date palm - dioecious plant. Male and female inflorescences are located on different copies. Date palm trees are pollinated by the wind. When laying productive plantations for every few tens of female trees, a male specimen is necessarily planted for cross-pollination. Date palms bloom from February to November, depending on the variety and region. It is possible to determine the sex of plants only during flowering. It takes about a year to ripen the fruit.

Male inflorescences of date palms do not bear fruit, but are necessary for pollination

Male specimens of the date palm bloom in large cystic inflorescences, consisting of small three-petalled flowers with numerous stamens. For better pollination, blossoming male inflorescences are often cut and suspended in the crowns of flowering female trees.

In ancient times, cut male inflorescences were often dried and stored for several years in linen bags of linen to ensure a date crop even in case of death of a male pollinator.

Male date palm flowers have three petals and several stamens

Inflorescences are also located on the female date palm trees with large tassels, but they look a little different.

Female date palm inflorescence is the basis of the future date crop

Female date flower looks like a small ball without petals. In case of successful pollination, a date fruit will grow from each such ball-flower.

Female date palm flowers look like tiny balls without petals

How dates are fruiting

Date palms come into fruition early. The first fruits on female specimens appear already at the age of four. Young palm trees by this time still do not have time to grow a tall trunk, and clusters of dates are often lying on the ground. On some plantations, such fruit brushes are tied to supports in order to avoid contact with the soil, but this is not always done and not everywhere. That is why dates purchased at the bazaar or in the store are strongly recommended to be washed before use, especially in countries with an unfavorable sanitary and epidemiological situation.

In young date palms, clusters of fruits often come in contact with the ground.

Harvesting dates is done manually. This is a very dangerous and hard job. Pickers climb trees and use special curved knives to cut clusters of ripe fruits, then gently lower them to the ground.

Hand picking dates is hard and dangerous work

In the northern hemisphere, the ripening season of dates lasts from May to December. In May, they begin to harvest early varieties in the south of the Arabian Peninsula. The main harvest in most countries of North Africa and West Asia takes place from August to October.

Collection of dates in Tunisia (video)

An adult date palm can simultaneously have from 3 to 20 large fruit brushes. The weight of each brush is usually in the range of 7 to 18 kilograms. The yield from young trees is small, only 10–20 kilograms of fruit from one tree, but every year it grows and at 15 years old trees produce 60–100 kilograms of dates per year. The productivity of adult palm trees in good conditions can reach 150–250 kilograms of dates from each tree annually. Palm trees bear fruit for 80–100 years or more; cases of regular fruiting of 200-year-old trees are known.

On an adult palm during the fruiting period, several large date brushes ripen at once

A separate date fruit is a juicy fleshy berry with one large seed. The color of the dates, depending on the variety, is yellow, orange, red or brownish. The size of the fruit reaches 8 centimeters in length and 4 centimeters in diameter. Each fruit contains one large oblong ossicle with a longitudinal groove.

In each date one large oblong bone is hidden

Different varieties of dates are used in food fresh or dried. Fresh dates can be tasted only in the regions of their growth. Dried fruits that can be stored for many months come to the world market. Depending on the variety, they are soft, semi-dry or dry.

The benefits and harms of dates

Dates are a very popular sweet treat that can replace sweets and sugar. They contain a small amount of B vitamins, carotene (provitamin A) and vitamin K. Of the minerals, dates are especially rich in potassium, they also contain calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and small amounts of iron, sodium, zinc, copper and manganese. A high potassium content makes dates useful for cardiovascular diseases. The calorie content of dates is very high and reaches 280-340 kcal per 100 grams of product, depending on the variety.

Sweet high-calorie dates are categorically contraindicated in diabetes and obesity. You should not abuse this delicacy and healthy people.

Sweet and tasty dates are just a popular treat, but not a panacea for all diseases.

Flooding online articles about the mythical super usefulness of dates have absolutely no scientific basis.

Yes, dates are indeed one of the main foods of the poor in the tropical desert zone, but this happens only for the simple reason that other agricultural plants simply do not survive in a hot and dry desert climate.

What are royal dates and where do they grow

Royal Dates is the commercial trade name for the date palm fruit of the Medjoul variety, grown in many countries in North Africa and West Asia, as well as in South Africa and the United States. Royal dates differ from other varieties only in larger sizes and nothing more, their chemical composition is completely identical to other varieties.

Royal dates - fruits of the date palm of the large-fruited variety Medjoul

Plantation of royal dates on video

Other types of date palms, their distribution in the wild and in culture

In addition to the most widely known date of palmate, there are several related species of date palms. All of them have large cirrus leaves, reaching several meters in length, and are dioecious plants (male and female flowers develop on different specimens).

Types of date palms and regions of their growth in the wild (table)

Russian nameLatin nameAdult tree heightSpread in nature
Palm datePhoenix dactylifera10-30 metersNorth Africa, Middle East
Date TheophrastusPhoenix theophrastiup to 15 metersSouthern Greece, Crete, Turkey
Canary datePhoenix canariensis10–20 metersCanary Islands
Date DismissedPhoenix reclinatafrom 7 to 15 metersAfrica
Date forestPhoenix sylvestrisfrom 4 to 15 metersIndia and surrounding countries
Rocky datePhoenix rupicolaup to 6-8 metersHimalayas
Date RobelinaPhoenix roebeleniiup to 3 metersSoutheast Asia
Marsh datePhoenix paludosaup to 5 metersIndia, Southeast Asia

Palm date

The palmate date (real date palm, ordinary date palm) usually grows 10-15 meters high, sometimes up to 25-30 meters. At the base of the trunks of adult palm trees numerous offspring are formed, used for reproduction. It is generally accepted that in the wild, a true date palm tree has not been preserved, and all its numerous specimens, found in abundance in deserts and semi-deserts of North Africa and the Middle East, are feral descendants of cultivated plants and grow on the site of abandoned ancient oases.

At the base of the trunks of ordinary date palms numerous offspring are formed

The palmate date is very photophilous, it tolerates high temperatures, strong winds and dust storms, often occurring in deserts. Relatively easy to tolerate soil salinization. This palm tree can grow on clean sand and is very drought-resistant, but only if its roots reach deep underground water, otherwise it needs regular irrigation. In a dry climate of deserts and semi-deserts, palm dates easily withstand short-term frosts of up to -15 ° C, but in a wetter climate they die already at -9 ° C.

A true date palm is one of the very few plants that can grow in desert conditions.

Date Theophrastus

Date Theophrastus (Cretan date palm) grows up to 15 meters in height. In nature, this palm tree is found in southern Greece, Crete and several neighboring islands, on the nearby coast of Turkey. This is the only species of date palm growing in the wild in Europe. The size of the fruits of the Cretan date does not exceed 1.5 centimeters in length and 1 centimeter in diameter, they have fibrous pulp with a mediocre taste, but sometimes they are still used for food by the local population. This palm tree forms a lot of basal shoots. Cretan dates can withstand short-term temperature drops of -11 ° C.

Date Theofrasta - Europe's only wild date palm

Canary date

Canarian date (Canary date palm) usually grows 10–20 meters high, but in exceptional cases can reach 40 meters high. This palm tree is endemic to the Canary Islands and is not found anywhere else in the wild. It is widely grown as a decorative plant of open ground in southern Europe, Western Asia, on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus, in North and South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and in the subtropics of North and South America. In temperate countries it is very popular as an indoor and greenhouse plant. Compared with palm dates, the Canarian date is more resistant to high humidity, which ensured its widespread distribution around the world. Canary date palm withstands short-term cooling to -9 ° C.

Canarian dates are often grown as ornamental trees in subtropical climates.

On the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus, Canarian dates usually bloom in late autumn, but in some years flowering can begin much earlier, already in the middle of summer. If in the winter after flowering there was no frost below -5 ° C, then in December of the next year the fruits will ripen. The ripe fruits of the Canarian date are yellowish-brown, ovoid, reaching 2.5 centimeters long and 1.5 centimeters wide. In principle, they are edible, but in practice they are not consumed due to coarse fiber pulp.

Fruits of the Canary date look attractive, but not edible due to coarse fiber pulp

Date Dismissed

Deviated date (curved date, wild date palm, Senegalese date palm) comes from tropical Africa, where it is grown almost everywhere. This is a multi-stemmed palm tree from 7 to 15 meters high. Its small fruits are edible and widely used for food by the local population of African countries in the zone of its natural growth. This palm tree is resistant to salt spray and moderate drought, therefore it is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in the dry tropical regions of many countries of the world. Extreme frost resistance -5 ° C. A date rejected is easily crossed with other types of date palms. In terms of their economic qualities, such hybrid seedlings often turn out to be significantly worse than the original parental forms.

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Date Dismissed - Wild African Date Palm with Edible Fruits

Date forest

Forest dates (wild date palm, Indian date palm, silver date palm, sugar date palm) come from India and surrounding countries (Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka). It grows from 4 to 15 meters in height. The fruits are edible and are widely used as food by the local population. In terms of fruit quality, this palm tree takes the second place after palm dates and is actively grown as a fruit crop in the countries of South Asia.

Forest date - Indian date palm, often grown on plantations in India and surrounding countries.

From the trunks of this palm tree, sweet juice is also extracted, which is used to make sugar and palm wine. Forest dates are resistant to drought and moderately resistant to soil salinization. Extreme frost resistance -5 ° C.

The fruits of the Indian date palm are almost not inferior in quality to real dates

Rocky date

The rocky date (rocky date) grows to 6, sometimes up to 8 meters in height. It is found in nature in the mountain forests of India and Bhutan. It is very rarely grown in culture. Its small fruits with large bones do not exceed 2 centimeters in length. They are edible, but have no economic value. Extreme frost resistance -3 ° C.

The rocky date comes from the mountain forests of the Himalayas

Date Robelina

Date Robelin (dwarf date palm) grows no higher than 3 meters in height. It is found in nature in the forests of Vietnam, Laos and South China. This beautiful miniature palm tree is very popular as an ornamental plant in the tropical zone and in indoor culture. Dies in frosts below -3 ° C. The fruits are small, have no economic value.

Date Robelina - a very popular ornamental plant

Marsh date

Swamp date (mangrove date palm, sea date) is a medium-sized palm reaching no more than 5 meters in height. It grows in coastal mangroves on the coasts of India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia. The only type of date that can grow on swampy soils. This is a very thermophilic plant of the humid tropics, almost not found in the culture due to its specific requirements for growing conditions. The fruits are very small.

Date marsh - a plant of wet tropical mangroves

The fruits of all types of date palms are edible, among them there are no poisonous ones, but many of them have no economic value due to too small sizes or coarse fibrous pulp.

Fruits of different types of date palms (photo gallery)

Palm-tree date - the main fruit crop of many tropical countries with a dry climate, gives the highest quality fruits

The fruits of Cretan dates are rarely used for food by the local population.

Fruits of the Canarian date are not used for food due to coarse fibrous pulp

Rejected Senegalese date fruits used by local people in Africa

The fruits of the Indian forest date are of good quality and are widely used by local residents.

The fruits of the rocky date are edible, but have no economic value due to their small size.

The fruits of the date of Robelin are very small and are not used in food.

Small fruits of mangrove date palm do not have economic value

The cultivation of date palms in open ground in the countries of the former USSR

In Soviet times, numerous experiments were conducted on the acclimatization of date palms on the territory of the USSR. However, successful growth and fruiting of a true date palm (palm dates) were possible only in the dry subtropics of southern Turkmenistan. All the many dates sold in abundance at the bazaars of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are imported goods brought from more southern countries. In the Black Sea subtropics, palmate dates grow poorly and die quickly due to excessive dampness.

Canarian date is often grown as an ornamental plant on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus.

Canarian dates, more resistant to increased humidity of air and soil, are widely cultivated as an ornamental plant along the entire Black Sea coast of the Caucasus in Russia (Krasnodar Territory), Abkhazia and Georgia. Separate instances of the Canary dates are also found on the southern coast of Crimea and in Azerbaijan (Baku, Lankaran).

In the collections of the botanical gardens of the subtropical zone of the Krasnodar Territory of Russia there are also single instances of the date of the forest and the date of the rejected, but these species are not widespread.

Date palm trees should be planted in areas well shined by the sun with protection from cold winds. The soil should be well-drained, without stagnation of water. Canary dates grow better on soils with a high lime content.

Young date palm plants are less resistant to frost than adults

Young plants of date palms often freeze out even with short-term frosts of -8 ..- 9 ° C, so they usually have to be insulated for the winter with reed mats or breathable agrofibre. During winter shelter, it is especially important to protect the apical growth point at the base of young leaves from frost. With significant damage to the growth point, the palm almost inevitably dies. Adult palm trees are usually more hardy, but at -10 ..- 12 ° C they are very damaged and can die.

In Ukraine, all types of date palms in open ground are very short-lived even with winter shelter.

Growing date palms at home

Various types of date palms are often grown in indoor and greenhouse cultures. The most popular dates are palmate, Canary and Robelain. The latter two are more decorative, but novice growers often experiment with palmate because of the readily available seeds (seeds can be sown from food dates sold in grocery stores).

Types of dates for room culture (photo gallery)

Palm dates are often grown in rooms due to the readily available seeds.

Canarian dates are more decorative in room culture, and fresh seeds can be brought from the south

The date of Robelin is better than other types for room culture and is very decorative

Of course, no fruiting and harvest of dates in room conditions can be expected. Indoor date palm - a purely decorative plant.

At home, a date palm is easy to grow from seeds from purchased dates:

  1. Rinse the seeds from the eaten fruit thoroughly with clean water.

    Bones from eaten dates can be washed with water and used for sowing

  2. Thrust each bone vertically into an individual cup with an earthen mixture so that the soil layer above its tip is about 1 centimeter.
  3. Put in a warm place with a temperature not lower than + 25 ° C and keep the ground constantly slightly moist.
  4. After 1-3 months, seedlings will appear.

    Shoots of date palm leaves are solid, not cirrus

  5. After emergence, put on the brightest window.

How to sow the seeds of dates (video)

The first cirrus leaves appear in seedlings of date palms 1-3 years after sowing. If at this age the leaves still remain whole, then the plants do not have enough light. Date palm trees are very photophilous. In summer, you can put them on a balcony or in the garden, it is very useful for them to be in the fresh air. In winter, the room temperature should be around + 15 ° C. Watering is required moderate, the soil in the pot should be constantly slightly moist in depth. Drying of an earthen coma and waterlogging are equally dangerous. Pots for date palms are preferably tall, with mandatory drainage holes in the bottom and a drainage layer of pebbles or expanded clay at the bottom of the pot. Young plants are transplanted every year in spring, adults can be less often, once every 2-3 years. In very large old plants growing in large and heavy containers, it is sometimes recommended that instead of labor-intensive transplantation, limited to partially replacing the top layer of the earth with a fresh one. It is not necessary to spray palm leaves with water, but you need to regularly wipe them from dust with a slightly damp cloth or sponge.

The date of Robelin is one of the most beautiful indoor palm trees with cirrus leaves.

During my childhood, in the spacious and bright lobby of our school, among other plants, there were several large and beautiful date palms in wooden tubs with a volume of about twenty or thirty liters each. I don’t remember being ever transplanted, but we were regularly sent to wipe the leaves while on duty.

My own attempts to grow dates from seeds were not very successful: for the first time, nothing came up (probably, the fruits were too old or overheated during drying, they were very suspiciously dry). And for the second time, although it was possible to wait for germination, my dirty omnivorous cat decided that this was such a new cat grass, and quickly dealt with palm seedlings.


Do not fool around with seeds, they themselves sprout beautifully. You shove a bone vertically into the ground and occasionally water it. It grows for a long time, it is better to shove it in the fall and in the spring to wait for growth. It grows slowly until the appearance of palm trees really wait for 10 years. Loves the sun, heavy soils and deep pots, it is important! Afraid of a tick. I do not recommend specifically cultivating it - for a long time, but how the entertainment stuck a seed in a lot of fun and see what comes of it


I also sowed dates. From dried emerge twice as fast as from fresh.


My date palm is 1.5 years old, and already three cirrus leaves. It's all about lighting. This palm tree loves sunlight very much.


The soil must be moist. The dates of the drying of the soil will not tolerate. If it dries, then forever.

Donna rosa

Для жителей регионов с умеренным климатом финики были и остаются лишь диковинным заморским лакомством и экзотическим комнатным растением. Плодоношение финиковых пальм достижимо только в жарких странах с субтропическим и тропическим климатом, где они являются одной из главнейших сельскохозяйственных культур.


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