Dating bases guide
In general, fruits are divided into three classes: dry dates, which require high temperatures and sun levels for maturation, and are easily stored; semi-dry dates, which are more moist, and also store well; soft dates which must be eaten fresh and therefore are less commonly exported.Popenoe (1973) listed 1500 'varieties' cultivated to varying extents throughout the zone of date palm growth, and noted that if all named 'varieties' were to be collected together they would number several thousands.In Muslim tradition, God created the date palm from dust left over after Adam was created, and Arabs consequently know it as the 'Tree of Life' (Goor 1967), a name that well suits its multiplicity of uses.The origin of the date palm has been much debated and suggested areas include desert northwestern Africa (Fischer 1882; de Candolle 1884), tropical North Africa (Schweinfurth 1873; Grisebach 1872), Arabia (Bonavia 1885), Babylonia (Hehn 1888), the Persian Gulf (Beccari 1890; Werth 1934; Popenoe 1973; Zohary & Hopf 1988), Southern Persia (Boissier 1882) and Western India (Hamilton 1827).dactylifera, and Beccari (1890) a further two, using only loosely defined fruit characters.Many cultivars are potentially referrable to any one of these names because of the brevity of the descriptions so that the names are useless to date grower and botanist alike.The cultural and religious significance of date palms, over a recorded 5000 year history, reflects their economic importance.The date palm was associated with the primitive Semitic goddess (Ishtar or Astarte) who symbolised the creative force of nature (Popenoe 1973).
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The species is dioecious, with separate male and female trees.
The fruit are yellow or orange when ripe (turning brown when dried), 3-5 (-7) cm long and 2-3 cm diameter, with a large seed; the fruit pulp is edible and delicious, and is the basis for a major fruit crop of global importance (dates).