The date palm is dioecious, having separate male and female plants. They can be easily grown from seed, but only 50% of seedlings will be female and hence fruit bearing, and dates from seedling plants are often smaller and of poorer quality. Most commercial plantations thus use cuttings of heavily cropping cultivars. Plants grown from cuttings will fruit 2-3 years earlier than seedling plants.
Dates are naturally wind pollinated but in both traditional oasis horticulture and in the modern commercial orchards they are entirely pollinated manually. Natural pollination occurs with about an equal number of male and female plants. However, with assistance, one male can pollinate up to 100 females. Since the males are of value only as pollinators, this allows the growers to use their resources for many more fruit producing female plants. Some growers do not even maintain any male plants as male flowers become available at local markets at pollination time. Manual pollination is done by skilled labourers on ladders. In some areas such as Iraq the pollinator climbs the tree using a special climbing tool that wraps around the tree trunk and the climber’s back to keep him attached to the trunk while climbing. Less often the pollen may be blown onto the female flowers by a wind machine.
Parthenocarpic cultivars are available but the seedless fruit is smaller and of lower quality.
Dates ripen in four stages, which are known throughout the world by their Arabic names kimri (unripe), khlal (full-size, crunchy), rutab (ripe, soft), tamr (ripe, sun-dried). A 100 gram portion of fresh dates is a source of vitamin C and supplies 230 kcal (960 kJ) of energy. Since dates contain relatively little water, they do not become much more concentrated upon drying, although the vitamin C is lost in the process.
Dates are an important traditional crop in Turkey, Iraq, Arabia, and north Africa west to Morocco and are mentioned more than 50 times in the Bible. In Islamic countries, dates and yogurt or milk are a traditional first meal when the sun sets during Ramadan. Dates (especially Medjool and Deglet Noor) are also cultivated in southern California, Arizona and southern Florida in the United States.
Date palms can take 4 to 8 years after planting before they will bear fruit, and produce viable yields for commercial harvest between 7 to 10 years. Mature date palms can produce 80-120 kilograms (176-264 lb) of dates per harvest season, although they do not all ripen at the same time so several harvests are required. In order to get fruit of marketable quality, the bunches of dates must be thinned and bagged or covered before ripening so that the remaining fruits grow larger and are protected from weather and pests such as birds.
Date Fruit Health Benefits
The sweet Date, with lots of health benefits, is classified as fruits which have high amount of Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium and vitamins which are necessary for healthy body.
The fruit because of being rich source of Iron is one of the best way for treatment of Anemia and those who are suffered from this disease.
Date fruit also is considered as a nutritious food which is beneficial for those who exercise seriously.
The doctors believe that daily consumption of Date fruit can remove severe constipation and works as a laxative drug!
Its fiber content have positive and direct influence at digestive system functions and can be used as a fruit which is useful for all age groups .Date fruit is a sweet fruit which limited consumption of it is recommended for those who have diabetes.
This nutritious food can help to prevent fat accumulation and because of having beneficial substances can strengthen immune system against diseases .Date fruit consumption helps to regulate Thyroid gland and also is antibacterial.
This food causes to digest food better and also its calcium content is the main factor for bone strength.
Its better to eat a Date fruit every day because it will help to better blood circulation. Date consumption with yoghourt is very nutritious and is the best food for those who are suffered from Anemia.
It should be noted that excessive Date consumption can lead to high blood pressure and cause to weight-gain and decay.
Date fruit palms are thought to possibly be the worlds first plant used by humans for producing food. Persian Gulf region is said the origin and are being cultivated since 6000 BC. In the pre-Islamic archeology, the agricultural settlement of the southeastern Arabia was predicated upon the domestication of the Date fruit palm in 2500 BC. Dates are also grown in North Africa west to Morocco and are just cultivated in southern California and Arizona in the US.
Dates have been a staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years. It is believed to have originated around the Persian Gulf, and has been cultivated in ancient times from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt, possibly as early as 6000 BC. There is archeological evidence of cultivation in eastern Arabia in 4,000 BC.
In later times, Arabs spread dates around northern Africa and into Spain, and dates were introduced into California by the Spaniards in 1765, around Mission San Ignacio.
Date Fruit Growing
The Date fruit is grown on a Date palm tree, and it should be no surprise that they thrive only in hot dry climates. Commercially grown Date fruit palms are from offshoots to ensure desired Date variety qualities. The scientific name, Phoenix dactyliferous, refers to feather palms that may grow more than 100 feet and live more than 200 years and has been used as a source of food for thousands of years. Only the female Date fruit palm produces fruit, but you’ll need both a male and female tree for Date fruit production.
The Date fruit season really begins early in the year when we clean up the trees after the end of the dormant period. At this time, we have to start by cutting the thorns off of the Date fruit fronds. The Arabs sometimes call the Date fruit palm the “king of the oasis.” Palms are difficult to grow. The ideal environment for them is, as the Arabs put it, “with their feet in water and their heads in the fires of the heavens.” That is, they require maximum moisture and heat. First of all, for the fruit to start growing the tree must be pollinated. This means that a special dust (pollen) from the male tree must be blown (put) onto the female tree. One week after pollination, a very small white fruit.