At this time of year, the Phoenix dactilifera palm tree carries a beautiful cluster of flowers (shown here), at least here on this island. This palm tree species produces dates. The tree is dioecious which means there are both, female as well as male trees, looking out for each other. Only the female palm tree produces the date fruits from the flowers but a male Phoenix has to pollinate it first. One male tree can produce enough pollen to pollinate 40 – 50 female palm trees. This date palm is native to North Africa; it is an alien plant here in the Balearic Isles. It was probably first brought to Mallorca by the Moorish intruders some 1,000 years ago.
The date palm was possibly one of the first plants to be cultivated by the human race. The people of North Africa and the Middle East have depended on dates as a food source for pretty much thousands of years. There are many distinct varieties grown commercially in North Africa, Iraq and Israel. But as this palm tree is not indigenous to the Baleares it has never been grown for commercial purposes here but, rather for its ornamental impact.
The photo shows a Phoenix dactilifera in the patio of our own townhouse in Felanitx. The tree was not there when we moved in; we had it transplanted. It has never ever carried dates because there is a noted absence of any male specimen in the immediate neighborhood.
The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 2nd, 2010. The time was 12:49:46.