x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 August 2017

Plant profile: Date palm

The iconic fruit-producing tree is a desert staple with a surprising thirst for water.

Kathleen Konicek-Moran for The National
Kathleen Konicek-Moran for The National

A consistent presence in traditional Bedouin life, the UAE population of Phoenix dactylifera, or date palms, is responsible for 6 per cent of the world’s date production. However, while ever present here, date palms are better suited to the oasis, as they require up to 120 litres of water per day, if they’re to bear fruit.

If keeping a date palm is still of interest, it should be noted that they need a large amount of space, as one single palm can grow as tall as 21 to 23 metres, with leaves spanning 4 to 6 metres. Date palms can either grow individually or by forming a clump with several stems from a single root system.

While the date fruit is typically eaten as a dessert, it can also be made into a thick syrup and used as a coating for leather bags and pipes to prevent leakage, which is a practice that’s common in Pakistan.

sdenman@thenational.ae

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