The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Common Name: Senegal Date Palm
Phoenix reclinata is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 6.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Africa - ranging from S. Africa north to Egypt.
Open forests, savannah woodland or low scrub thickets, usually in alluvial soils in positions such as near the banks of streams where there is permanent access to ground water, even if deep down.
Requires a light moist but very well-drained soil in a sheltered position in full sun[
]. Plants tolerate waterlogged soils in the wild[
]. Succeeds in dry soils and is also tolerant of poor soils. Plants are tolerant of light shade, though they will not fruit when growing in such a position.
Capable of withstanding light frosts[
], this plant is worth trying outdoors in the very mildest parts of Britain[
]. Although certainly not hardy when young, this palm is unusually hardy when mature[
Palms usually have deep penetrating root systems and generally establish best when planted out at a young stage. However, older plants are substantially more cold tolerant than juvenile plants[
]. In areas at the limit of their cold tolerance, therefore, it is prudent to grow the plants in containers for some years, giving them winter protection, and only planting them into their permanent positions when sheer size dictates[
]. This species can be cultivated successfully for a long time in containers[
]. It can also be transplanted even when very large[
]. Although the thick fleshy roots are easily damaged and/or desiccated, new roots are generally freely produced. It is important to stake the plant very firmly to prevent rock, and also to give it plenty of water until re-established - removing many of the leaves can also help[
It takes 5 - 6 years from seed before the plant will have produced a full head of leaves and it will not start to form a trunk until this stage is reached[
Plants often form suckers around their base[
Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. Much relished by the local peoples, they can also be used to make a wine[
]. They apparently taste quite similar to the commercial date[
The heart of the crown is sometimes eaten by people[
Children enjoy the gum produced by the roots[
The roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute[
Palm wine is made from the sap[
The spines apparently have traditional medicinal use[
]. No more information is given[
The leaves are used to make mats, baskets and hats[
Brooms for sweeping around rural dwellings are made from the dried inflorescences[
Special skirts made from the leaves are worn by Xhosa boys when undergoing their initiation rites[
Seed - probably best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse, otherwise sow the seed as soon as you obtain it. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 months. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors.
Division of suckers[