How the date palm manages to live in the desert?

There is a Bedouin saying which states that a date palm must have ‘its feet in water and its head in the sun’. for this reason the date palm is a typical tree of the desert oases.

Its roots dig very deeply into the soil until they find an underground store of water which gives rise to an oasis, that island of water and vegetation in the vast wastes of the desert. The palm needs a great deal of sunshine to grow vigorously and this explains the second part of the Bedouin saying.

A fully grown date palm tree stands more than 20 metres high. It has a slender trunk with a tuft of leaves at the top. Under these leaves there grow clusters of flowers which produce the berries that we know as dates. They have a sweet flesh and contain only one seed. A single larger branch of the tree may carry more than 1,000 dates weighing about 10 kilogrammes.

The date palm is very important in the life of desert people. This is not just because of its fruit but for every part of the tree. The wood from the trunk is used in building; the leaves are dried and make thatch roofs for huts as well as mats and ropes; the sap of the tree can be made into an alcoholic drink; and the seeds or stones of the date can be ground to make a beverage like coffee.

Date sugar, which is produced in India, is obtained from the sap of the Phoenix Sylvester’s, which is closely related to the date palm.


Picture Credit : Google