© 2019 by Gurra Downs Date Company Pty Ltd.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHERE DATES GROW

 

The date palm is a traditional crop in the old world and in recent decades has gained popularity. It is now grown in 40 countries including the USA, South Africa and more recently Australia. The five largest producers are Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iraq – accounting for about 70% of total production.

 
GROWING DATES FROM SEED

 

Date palms can be grown from seed however the quality of the resulting plant is likely to be commercially undesirable. Date palms can also be generated through micropropagation techniques. In recent decades tissue culture plants have emerged as an efficient way of mass producing large volumes of desirable variety types.


Additionally, date palms can be grown from offshoots or suckers which generate from the base of existing palms. These offshoots are genetically identical to the parent palm and therefore reliable in the characteristics displayed from the parent palm.

 
NUTRITIONAL VALUE

 

Dates are a highly nutritious fruit. Their nutritional information is as follows:

 

NUTRITIONAL  INFORMATION

(Average Nutrition Value per  100 grams)

ENERGY CALORIES............349
GLUCOSE...........................48.5g
FRUCTOSE........................35.5g
CARBOHYDRATES...........87.4g
PROTEIN.............................2.37g
FAT.......................................0.43g
POTASSIUM....................667 mg
CALCIUM...........................52 mg
MAGNESIUM.....................50 mg
PHOSPHORUS................60 mg
SODIUM.............................12 mg
IRON..................................1.2 mg
VITAMINS....A, B1, B2, B3 and C

 

Dates 3000 calories/kg
Bananas 970 calories/kg
Apricots 520 calories/kg
Oranges 480 calories/kg

PALM IDENTIFICATION

We often receive enquiry from people who incorrectly identify the true date palm Phoenix dactylifera. Here is some information which may assist.

Phoenix canariensis or Canary Island palm
Commonly mistaken for a date palm. The Canary Island Palm has a robust trunk, thick dense canopy. Leaves have very long spines at base. Does not reproduce via suckers/offshoots but commonly has a carpet of germinating palms at base of tree. Common ornamental palm throughout Australia.

Cotton Palm  (Washingtonia sp)
Easy to identify with large fan shaped leaves with what appear to be threads of cotton hanging from leaf tips. Thick, straight trunk.

 

Phoenix dactylifera, the true date palm
Large (to about 20 metre) attractive palm with slender trunk and sparse canopy. Usually a blue-grey-green foliage colour.  The leaves of the true date palm have sharp pointed tips and sharp spines at the base of the frond where it joins the truck.

L to R:
Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera), Cotton Palm (Washingtonia sp), Canary Island Palm (Phoenix canariensis).
Kings Park Perth, Western Australia.

 
IDENTIFYING THE SEX OF A PHOENIX DACTYLIFERA DATE PALM
 

Males will produce a flower which is feathery in appearance – something like a feather duster. Commercially male pollen is harvested and applied to the female flower. One male palm produces enough pollen for about 25 female palms.

The female palm produces a more pronounced flower which has longer individual strands that first emerge with small creamy yellow coloured nodules. These grow and develop  into green beads, then eventually into easily recognizable dates. Un-pollinated flowers will produce fruit that will not ripen.