The Riverland of South Australia does not have a history in date production. Gurra Downs has undertaken the activities of importing and establishing a comprehensive field evaluation site so as to select the best commercial varieties suited to our climate and economic management. 

In addition to trialling these varieties in South Australia's Riverland, the Arid-Zone Research Institute (Northern Territory Government) are evaluating these varieties under agreement with Gurra Downs in Central Australian (Alice Springs) climatic zone. We receive valuable feedback from other growers throughout Australia regarding the suitability of particular varieties in different locations.

Varieties have been obtained from D.P.D. Ltd. UK who are market leaders in the production of Date palm plants by tissue culture.  D.P.D. Ltd. has over 35 years experience in producing high quality, disease free, true to type date palm plants.

The following varieties are currently being trialled at the Gurra Downs Research & Development trial site (for varieties available for purchase, please see Nursery Stock):




Origin: Morocco
Medjool has become very popular in recent decades and is the most recognized premium date in Australian domestic markets. Large distinctive, semi-dried fruit, medium brown to dark mahogany in colour. Thinned fruit size can be 60 x 33mm and 15-23 grams in weight. Flavour described as sweet, rich, buttery.
This deluxe fruit has a high value on international markets which helps offset the high production costs of fruit thinning, bagging, hand picking and applying separating rings to bunches to improve ventilation.
Palms can yield 45-90kg with easy pollination. This variety ripens early and fruit has some rain tolerance. Palms are vigorous and prolific offshoot producers.


Origin: Iraq
Famous major variety very popular in middle-east markets. Fruit is very low in astringency and can be eaten in the 'khalaal' stage when still golden yellow, firm and semi-ripe. If sold at the khalaal stage, fruit is sold on the strand, making whole bunch harvesting possible. Fruit at the yellow khalaal stage is perishable and only has a shelf life of about 2 weeks. Some processors have developed methods of harvesting at khalaal and artificially ripening to extend the shelf life of the fruit.

Fruit turns a light brown to amber when fully ripe, soft with thick flesh, rich flavour of superb quality, requires refrigeration and special packing.Prolific yielder with crops of 80-120kg regularly reported. Fruit is mid-late season ripening. The palm has a robust appearance with a heavy trunk. Vigorous in nature, although offshoot production can be lean, with reports of seldom more than 6-8 offshoots per palm. There are accounts of Barhee production taking place over a wide range of climate types in the Middle East, India and South Africa.


Origin: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Red-yellow, khalaal stage. Round/oval shape, small to medium fruit size. 40-60kg per palm annually. Mid to late ripening. Eaten soft.


Origin: Iraq
This semi-dry fruit starts out a dull red colour during the semi-ripe khalaal stage. Changes to a deep brownish- red at the soft ripe (rutab) stage. Finishes a pale purple-brown when dry at the Tamar stage. Fruit has a pleasing, caramel-like flavour and firm skin. Medium to large fruit size. This is a mid-season ripening variety. Pollination can be problematic. Pollination needing to occur within 3 days of the female flower opening. Poor fruit set is common. Under ideal conditions, yields 65-90kg. Exhibits only minor damage during humid weather.


Yellow khalaal, oval shaped fruit of medium size. Mid to late ripening. Eaten soft or dry. Described as rich and delicate in flavour.


Yellow khalaal, oval shape, 40-60kg per palm annually. Mid season ripening. Eaten either soft or dried.


Origin: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Yellow khalaal. Oblong fruit of medium size. Semi-dry. Mid season ripening


Origin: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Green/yellow at khalaal stage. Oblong shaped fruit of medium size. Mid season ripening. Eaten when soft.


Origin: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Yellow and round. Medium to large fruit size. Mid to late season ripening. Soft date described as exquisite.


Red khalaal. Semi dried date of medium size. Mid season ripening. Very sweet.


Origin: Iraq
This variety has a wide geographical distribution and is well traded in the international marketplace. A semi-dried date of modest size. Dark brown in colour. Described as good, rich in flavour, keeps well.The height of a mature Khadrawi palm is comparatively less than other varieties. Ripens its fruit early, usually the first variety harvested. Yields around 45-65kg per palm annually. Well adapted to a wide range of conditions.



We are unsure of its origin however it has wide distribution throughout the Arab Gulf.
The fruit from the Khalas palm is highly esteemed and has received lavish praise. Some have described this as the most delicious date in the world. Whilst it can be eaten at the yellow semi-ripe, khalaal stage, it is most famous for its qualities when fully ripe. A soft, mahogany coloured date of medium size. This date has high value and stores well.A moderately vigorous palm yielding 50-70kg of fruit annually. Produces around 15-20 offshoots per palm.



Thoory is rated as one of the very best dried dates. Is best eaten only when fully dried (tamar stage) when it cures to a straw coloured date with wrinkled skin. Flesh is a hard, brittle texture with a sweet, nutty flavour. Medium-large fruit size, stores well.Palm is vigorous and robust, yielding 50-80kg. Only slightly damaged by occasional high humidity.



Origin: Iraq

Oldest known variety under cultivation. Most common variety grown in Iraq and consumed in great quantities. Popularly known as the 'golden date' because of its golden colour. A semi-dry date, small to medium fruit size. Enjoyable tangy flavour.A hardy, drought resistant palm that can produce 90-125kg of fruit annually. Some reports of whole bunch harvesting. Mid-late season ripening. Less tolerance of high humidity. Palm is highly adapted to most locations.


Origin: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Yellow khalaal, medium to large fruit size, oblong shape. Strong tree, heavy yielding, 60-80kg annually. Easy pollinating. Mid season ripening. Eaten either soft (rutab) or dry (tamar).


Early flowering. Heavy pollen yielder.


© 2019 by Gurra Downs Date Company Pty Ltd.