Although its place of origin is unknown, the date palm probably originated in the area around the Persian Gulf. In ancient times it was especially abundant between the Nile and Euphrates rivers.
The date palm is dioecious, having separate male and female plants. Dates are naturally wind-pollinated, but in both traditional oasis horticulture and modern commercial orchards, they are entirely pollinated manually. The males are of value only as pollinators and one male can pollinate up to 100 females, allowing the growers to use most of their land for females. Some growers do not even maintain any male plants since male flowers become available at local markets during pollination time.
The date palm was much revered and regarded as a symbol of fertility. It was depicted in bas relief and on coins. The literature devoted to its history and role in romance is voluminous.
Two of our date palms, both located in the Conservatory, are in bloom now. Each has 4-5 pod-like spathes from which the yellow wheat-like flowers are emerging.