Common Names: cliff date, wild date palm, Indian date palm
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
Palm Drought Tolerant Can be Grown in Containers Grows Well Indoors.
Has Unusual or Interesting Foliage
There are many kinds of date palm (Phoenix species are called date
palms). The more common date palm is the "true" date palm (and it's
many selections like the delicious Medjool date), the massive Canary
Island date palm (P. canariensis) and the popular pygmy date palm
(Phoenix roebelenii) that is often grown as a houseplant. In
addition to these are several other Phoenix species that are just as
impressive if not more so. One of these is the cliff date palm (P.
rupicola). It's not commonly used in landscapes but has some very
nice qualities among which are that it is incredibly graceful and
The cliff date palm, growing to only about 20 ft (6.1 m), is
smaller than the more commonly planted Canary Island and true date
palms. It is a tidier tree with a a neater appearance as the trunk
is clean, not retaining the old leaf bases like other date species.
As the leaves die they are shed leaving a smooth trunk ringed with
narrow scars at the point of attachment.
It is the canopy of fronds that really sets this Phoenix palm
apart from the rest. The leaves, which grow to about 10 ft (3.1 m)
long are bright green color and are arranged in plane on the stem
which gives the fronds a flat appearance that combined with their
unique, natural curving, arching and twisting form results in a very
The purplish red fruit is about 0.75 in (1.9 cm) long and has a
thin layer of edible flesh although the fruit is not this palm?s
Phoenix rupicola is native to India where it thrives among the rocks
and cliffs in the Himalayan Mountains. Due to its adaptation to this
kind of habitat, it tolerates poor, rocky soils.
Light: This palm prefers sun but can tolerate shade.
Moisture: Cliff date is drought resistant and requires well drained
Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 11.
Propagation: Propagation is by seed, which take about 2 or 3 months
The cliff date is a very ornamental palm and therefore is mainly
used as an accent or specimen palm in both residential and
commercial landscapes in warm climates. This is a very beautiful
palm and I hope to see more of them.
The cliff date palm is probably one of the easiest Phoenix species
to grow (although less hardy than some of the others). It is not
picky as far as light, soil or moisture although it does require
good drainage. The other Phoenix species like the edible Medjool
date (P. dactylifera) and Canary Island date palm (P. canariensis)
are more common and easier to find but the cliff date is definitely
worth seeking out to grow or just to enjoy seeing.