Range: North Africa and the Middle East
This magnificent palm is the source of edible dates. It is one of the most significant plants in human civilization, an important food plant, a source of beauty, and a religious symbol throughout history. Originating in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, there is evidence of date palm cultivation as early as 7,000 years ago. Recently, 2,000-year-old date seeds recovered from archaeological sites have been germinated successfully. Date palms are excellent ornamental plants for South Florida, but our humidity prevents them from fruiting properly. David Fairchild, the great botanical explorer and namesake of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, helped establish the thriving date industry in southern California.