We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Phoenix dactylifera - L.

Common Name Date Palm
Family Arecaceae
USDA hardiness 8-12
Known Hazards Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling
Habitats The tree has been cultivated for so long that it is not known in a truly wild situation.
Range Original range is unknown.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Phoenix dactylifera Date Palm

Phoenix dactylifera Date Palm


Translate this page:


Date Palm or Phoenix dactylifera is an evergreen, flowering palm growing up to 30 m tall and up to 40 cm across. The short trunk has suckers at the base. The leaves are 4-6 m long, with spines on the petiole. The fruits are oval-cylindrical and bright red to yellow when ripe. The fruits are used to treat respiratory diseases and fevers. Gum obtained from the tree is used to treat diarrhea. The fruits are edible. It is often dried and eaten raw or used as food sweetener. Sap from the tree can be drunk fresh, fermented, or distilled. Seeds are soaked and ground up for animal feed. Seed oil is used in soap making and in cosmetics. Date palm is salt-tolerant. The leaves are used as thatching material. It yields fiber which can be used to make ropes, baskets, hats, and mats. The wood is strong and resistant to termite attacks. It is used in construction and for fuel.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Phoenix dactylifera is an evergreen Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 7 m (23ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Encephalartos pungens (L.f. ex Aiton) Lehm. Macrozamia tridentata pungens J.Schust. Palma dactylifer

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Fruit  Pollen  Sap
Edible Uses: Drink  Sweetener

Fruit - raw or cooked[297 ]. The fruit is often dried and then eaten raw or used to add sweetness to a variety of foods such as cakes, fruit pies, confectionary etc[301 , K ]. The fruit is about 5cm long, 2.5cm in diameter, produced in clusters that can be as large as 1,500 fruits[335 ]. Male inflorescence - eaten as a delicacy[301 ]. Pollen is eaten[301 ]. Wherever fruiting is poor, the sap is tapped and becomes the main product from the tree[303 ]. It can be drunk fresh, fermented and drunk as toddy, or distilled and drunk as the spirit 'arrack'[303 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Demulcent  Expectorant  Febrifuge  Laxative

Date fruits are demulcent, expectorant and laxative. They are used to treat respiratory diseases and fevers[303 ]. The tree yields a gum that is used in treating diarrhoea[303 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses

Basketry  Fencing  Fibre  Fire retardant  Houseplant  Insulation  Roofing  Soil reclamation  String  Thatching  Weaving  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: Being a salt-tolerant species, the date has been used for decades for the revegetation of salt affected lands in the Mediterranean region[303 ]. Whilst young, date trees occupy a lot of space, so a decision to introduce it into cultivated fields must be taken carefully. But once mature, the wide crown grows high above the field crops, and it little affects the yield of cultivated crops. In many places, numerous palms are found in arable fields of suitable regions[303 ]. Other Uses The leaves are widely used for a variety of purposes. They make an excellent thatch, being used to make roofs and walls of huts. A fibre obtained from the leaves, base of the leaves and bark can be used to make ropes, baskets, hats and mats[46 , 200 , 302 ]. A fibre obtained from the leaf petiole, combined with other suitable material, is used for making insulating boards[303 ]. Dried leaves, with their stiff, woody rachis, are used for fencing[303 ]. The wood in the outer portion of the stem is strong and resistant to termites[303 ]. It is much valued for use in construction[46 , 200 , 303 ]. The stems are used for fuel[303 ]. This plant is fire-retardant. Indoor Plant.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Global Crop  Industrial Crop: Fiber  Management: Standard  Other Systems: Multistrata  Staple Crop: Sugar

Date palm is a plant of drier areas in the tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,500 metres. Hot dry conditions are required for free fruiting, the fruit not forming very readily in cooler or moister climates[297 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 26 - 45°c, but can tolerate 10 - 52°c[418 ]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -15?c, but the leaves and young growth can be severely damaged at -4°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 200 - 300mm, but tolerates 100 - 400mm[418 ]. The tree transpires large quantities of moisture and the amount of available rainfall is often little, or entirely absent in the production areas. The water requirement of the palm must be provided for by ground water (the roots of the tree can reach 2 - 6 metres deep) or by irrigation[418 ]. Plants are tolerant of a range of soil types[335 ], so long as they are well-drained[297 ]. Plants grow well in full sun, even when small[297 ]. Tolerant of salty soils, though fruit quality might be adversely affected[302 , 303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 8, tolerating 6 - 8.5[418 ]. Seedlings begin to develop a stem when about 4 - 5 years old and will usually start flowering soon afterwards[303 ]. Plants propagated from suckers can commence fruiting within 2 - 4 years and normally reach full production at 5 - 8 years, although productivity may increase up to 9 - 15 years[418 ]. Pollination is critical for good fruiting; therefore, pollen is usually artificially introduced to the female flowers by cutting a male inflorescence and placing it strategically within a female inflorescence - this may be thinned a little to accommodate it. It is important that male trees are planted with females in ratios of about 1:50 in order to provide sufficient pollen[303 ]. An average well-managed palm can produce about 60 - 70 kilos of fresh dates per year[418 ]. Commercially, yields of dates are often restricted to about 50 kilos per tree in order to ensure high quality, though yields of 100 kilos have been recorded[200 ]. Yields decline after 40 - 50 years, but the tree will continue to produce until about the age of 75 years[418 ]. When fruit yields are poor, the tree is often tapped for its sap. The yield varies with management and site conditions, but it is in the range of 4 - 8 litres per day[303 ]. There are many named forms[200 ]. A dioecious species, at least one male plant for every 6 females is necessary to ensure fertilization[297 ]. Flowering Time: Early spring, Early winter, Late spring, Late winter, Mid spring, Mid winter (Late Winter/Early Spring Blooms repeatedly). Bloom Color: White (Pale Yellow). Spacing: 20-30 ft. (6-9 m).

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Plants providing crop shade especially trees.
  • Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world. The annual value of each is more than $1 billion US Examples include coconuts, almonds, and bananas.
  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Other Systems: Multistrata  Multistrata agroforests feature multiple layers of trees often with herbaceous perennials, annual crops, and livestock.
  • Staple Crop: Sugar  Perennial sugar crops include sugarcane and compare favorably to annuals.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

Seed - pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water and sow in containers. Germination usually takes place in 2 - 3 months[297 ]. Seed viability can be maintained for 8 - 15 years at room temperature[303 ]. Division of suckers[297 ]. Pot up immediately into large containers and plant into permanent positions once the plant is established[297 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Akarap, Belah, Dabino, Dadel, Datilera, Dattelpalme, Dattero, Dattier, Hai zao, Imae, Ita, Ittappazham, Karchuram, Khajur, Kharjura, Kharjuramu, Khorjjuri, Mtende, Nakhla, Natsume yashi, Palma datilera, Perichchankay, Tamar, Tamareira, Tamr, Tenitta, Timir, Ye zao, aharjura, balah, chohara, chuhara, dadelpalm, date, date palm, dates|rata indi, datil, dattelpalme, dattier, dried dates, intappazham, inthappana, karchuram, karinchula, khajoor, khajur, khajur pupandu, khajura, kharek, kharik, kharik phala, kharika, kharjjuri, kharjura, kharjuramu, kharjura (dried fruit), kharjura (fresh fruit), khejur, khejuri, khurma, nakhl, palmera datilera, palmier dattier, pericham, pericham pazham, perichehantay, pinda, pinda khajur, pinda kharajura, pinda-kharjura, pin?a kharjura, pi??a kharjrura, prantha puzam, sohara, tamar, tamareira, tamr.

TEMPERATE ASIA: Iran, Iraq, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia,Gulf States.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Phoenix canariensisCanary Island Date PalmTree12.0 8-11 SLMHNDM302
Phoenix reclinataSenegal Date PalmTree6.0 9-11 MLMNDM100
Phoenix sylvestrisWild Date Plum, India Date PalmTree15.0 9-11 SLMHSNM10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment



Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Phoenix dactylifera  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.