About Date Fruit

About Date Fruit Dates is one of the oldest cultivated tree crops. Earliest known records in Persian Gulf show that its culture was probably established as early as 3000 B.C. Dates have long been a staple food for the native populations from western Iran across Arabia and North Africa. Successful date culture requires moderate winter temperatures, long hot summers to develop and mature the fruit. Little rainfall and low atmospheric humidity are required during late summer and fall to ripen the fruit and minimize harvest losses. Thus hot dry desert climates produce most of the world date supply. Date palms may be grown either from seeds or from suckers that grow out from the roots. Most date palms are propagated by root suckers instead of by seed because offshoots (or root suckers) always produce true to the parent type. Plants from seeds are seldom alike and relatively few produce fruit of good quality. All varieties of dates are dioeciously, that is the male and female flowers are produced in cluster on separate palms. Palms with the male flowers produce the pollen, palms with the female flowers produce the fruit. One male tree is usually sufficient to pollinate about 50 female trees provided nature is assisted in distributing the pollen. In commercial production of dates the female flowers are pollinated by hand or mechanical dusters, but generally used to supplement hand pollination. This procedure is repeated twice a week because the flowers have to be pollinated within 2 to 3 days after they emerge from their protective sheath. Each female palm produces about 10 to 20 bunches and each bunch produces 15 to 25 pounds of dates depending upon the variety and vigor of the tree.

Date growers distinguish for stages in growth and ripening of the fruit. These stages are:

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