Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is a flowering plant that belongs to the palm family, Arecaceae. It is widely cultivated for the sake of its edible berry fruit, called dates.

Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is a flowering plant that belongs to the palm family, Arecaceae. It is widely cultivated for the sake of its edible berry fruit, called dates. A big portion of it is cultivated in North Africa and the Middle East, which are the largest consumers and producers of date palm.

However, it is also cultivated in the Canary Islands, Mexico, India, Pakistan, and the states of California. It belongs to the Phoenix genus, which contains 12–19 species of wide date palms.

For thousands of years, they have been cultivated in the Middle East and the Indus Valley. There is archaeological evidence of its cultivation in Arabia since the 6th millennium BCE. They are thought to have originated in the Fertile Crescent. Its exact origin is not known because of its long cultivation.

Plant Description:

Date palm is dioecious, having its male and female flowers on separate plants with leaves growing up to 4–6 m and having around 150 leaflets. The trees usually grow singly or in clumps from a single root system. There are currently over 100 million date trees cultivated globally, most of which are in the Middle East (approximately 90%).

Therefore, they are currently considerably related to the Arab Muslim world, although historically, they have been linked to early Judaism and Christianity, partly because the tree was heavily cultivated as a food supply in ancient Israel.

Under cultivation, female flowers are artificially pollinated. Plants can grow up to a height of 30 metres (100 feet). They are slow-growing and can take 100 years to be maintained properly. After 4–8 years of sowing, they start fruiting.

Mature date palms can produce 70–140 kg of dates per harvest season. Fruit colours range from dark brown to bright red or yellow. Date is a seeded fruit that varies greatly in shape, colour, size, and quality.

Seed parts:

The date fruit is made up of the pericarp, mesocarp, endocarp, and a seed (kernel or pit). The mesocarp is the largest part, which is composed of parenchymatous cells that are separated into an outer mesocarp and an inner mesocarp with intermediate layers of tanniferous cells. The fruits undergo different stages of development, including Hanabauk, Kimri, Kahlil (or Besser), Rutab, and Tamr.


Propagation of date palm is traditionally done by offshoots; however, increased demands for offshoots to expand agricultural areas have necessitated the use of tissue culture. Remarkable progress has been made in date palm micropropagation since it was first achieved in the early 1970s.

Religious importance:

It is the tradition to eat date fruit first to break the fast during Ramadan fasting for Muslims. For Muslims all over the world, dates are of religious importance and are mentioned in many places in the Quran.

 Soil Conditions:

Well-drained sandy loam soils with a pH of 8–11 (alkaline) are best for growing date palms. The soil should be well aerated and free of calcium carbonate.

Nutritional profile:

Date palm fruits possess high nutritional and therapeutic value with significant antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-proliferative properties. The fruits (dates) of the date palm contain a high percentage of carbohydrate (total sugars, 44–88%), fat (0.2-0.5%), 15 salts and minerals, protein (2.3-5.6%), vitamins, and a high percentage of dietary fibre (6.4–11.5%).

The fatty acids are present both in flesh and seed as a range of saturated and unsaturated acids. Unsaturated fatty acids include palmitoleic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids.

There are at least 15 minerals in dates. Other minerals and salts that are found in various proportions include boron, calcium, copper, fluorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, sodium, and zinc.

Additionally, the seeds contain aluminium, cadmium, chloride, lead, and sulphur in various proportions. Proteins with 23 types of amino acids are present in date palm. Dates contain at least six vitamins, including a small amount of vitamin C and vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), nicotinic acid (niacin), and vitamin A.

It is consumed widely and has been used for traditional medicine purposes for a long time. The fruits are nutrient-rich, containing dietary fibers, sugar, protein, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds. Due to the presence of phenolic compounds, date palm fruits are antioxidant-rich and have potent bioactivities against several bacterial pathogens.

Classification of fruit:

The fruits are classified based on their sugar type: (1) invert sugar types containing glucose and fructose (e.g., Barhi and Saidy); (2) mixed sugar types (e.g., Khadra, Zahidi, and Sayer); (3) cane sugar types containing mainly sucrose (e.g., Deglet Nour and Deglet Beidha).


All parts of the date palm yield products of economic value. Its trunk furnishes timber; the midribs of the leaves supply material for crates and furniture; the leaflets are for basketry; the leaf bases are for fuel; the fruit stalks are for rope and fuel; the fibre, for cordage and packing material; and the seeds are sometimes ground and used as stock feed.

Syrup, alcohol, vinegar, and a strong liquor are derived from the fruit. The sap is also used as a beverage, either fresh or fermented, but because the method of extraction seriously injures the palm, only those trees that produce little fruit are used for sap. When a palm is cut down, the tender terminal bud is eaten as a salad.

Constraints facing the development of date palms in Pakistan:

Low-quality cultivars
Poor farm management
Pests and diseases
Insufficient research and development activities