Common Names: Senegal date palm
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
Palm Fast Growing Drought Tolerant Easy to grow - great for
beginners! Can be Grown in Containers Has evergreen foliage Has
Unusual or Interesting Foliage
This beautiful and unusual palm grows in huge clumps that can make a
striking statement in the landscape. The Senegal date palm is
variable in shape and form but tends to grow as clumps composed of
multiple stems reaching 25 ft (7.6m) to 50 ft (15 m) in height.
These slender stems are covered with brown fiber and tend to curve
away from the center of the clump in graceful arcs. They are topped
by crowns of dark green to yellow green pinnate (feather shaped)
fronds. The leaves are up to 8-15 ft (2.4-4.5 m) long and about 3 ft
(0.9 m) wide and recurve attractively toward the ground. The leaf
stem is armored with vicious needles near the trunk.
date palm inflorescence
Senagal date palm inflorescence
Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. Both are borne
on 3 ft (0.9 m) branched inflorescences. The fruit, called a date,
follows the female flower. It is similar to the dates we buy in the
store but is smaller and has less flesh and is mostly seed - they
also don't taste very good although they are edible.
Without pruning the tree tends to grow into a tangled mass of
stems and leaves (as shown in the picture below). A more attractive
specimen can be obtained by removing many of the suckers and
trimming away the lower fronds so that the gracefully curving stems
can be enjoyed. The Senegal date palm readily hybridizes with the
many other species of Phoenix that are found in the landscape. Some
of the hybrids have naturally open aspect with fewer suckers - these
make the nicest specimens. Other individuals grow in tight masses of
stems, foliage and long sharp spines - these make great barrier
plants for creating impenetrable hedges.
This tree is native to the semi-arid plains of Senegal, a country in
the northeastern part of sub-Saharan Africa. It is now frequently
encountered in warm region landscapes everywhere.
Senegal date palm
This width of this clump is constrained by the lawn mower and
without thinning the stems they have merged into a thick
Light:Prefers bright, sunny locations.
Moisture:Drought tolerant. But looks more attractive and grows
faster if periodically watered.
Hardiness:USDA Zones 9-11 Can handle temperatures to around 25ºF
Propagation: By seed and by division of clumps but this is a real
Use this tree as a dramatic specimen plant for large yards, parks,
campuses and other spacious areas. The Senegal palm is particularly
impressive displayed against large structures as backdrops where its
gracefully curving stems are best appreciated. Makes a great potted
specimen for the patio when young. This durable palm also thrives in
large containers and other confined areas in urban landscapes.
The Senegal date is inexpensive and easy to find at nurseries and
discount stores in the Zones where it is hardy. Compared to other
palms this date is a relatively fast grower. Very dramatic effects
can be obtained at night by spot lighting the slender trunks and
feathery crowns. The Senegal Date palm is salt resistant, it can be
used at the beach if set back and somewhat protected.
Several other date palms (genus Phoenix) are grown as ornamentals
in warm winter climates. One of the most popular is the pygmy date
palm (Phoenix roebelenii) which grows to only about 7 ft (2.1 m)
high and is often grown in containers and indoors. The Canary Island
date palm (Phoenix canariensis) is famous for it cold hardiness and
thick massive trunk. Phoenix dactylifera is the species from which
edible dates, like the famous and delicious Medjool dates, are