Guest Author - Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu
Name: Senegal Date Palm
Scientific Name: Phoenix reclinata
Countries found in: The Senegal Date Palm is native to Senegal, but now found in all of Africa, Madagascar, and the Comoro Islands.
Description: The Senegal Date Palm likes to grow in clusters. This tree produces multiple stems that grow as tall as 24.5 feet to 49 feet in height with a trunk up to 12 inches in width. The stems are covered with brown fiber and arc away from the center of the clump.
The palm leaves grow from 8 feet to 15 feet in length. The color of the leaves ranges from bright green to a deep green depending on the age of the leaf. The date palm will have somewhere between 20 and 40 leaves at its crown.
Habitat: The Senegal Date Palm can be found in clearings in rain forests, monsoonal forests as well as rocky mountain sides. They are found all over Africa at elevations of sea level to 9850 feet.
Light: The Senegal Date Palm does best in bright, sunny locations.
Moisture: It is drought tolerant.
Hardiness: The Senegal Date Palm is hardy in USDA Zones 9-11. It can handle temperatures as low as 25ºF.
Propagation: It is easiest to propagate the Senegal Date Palm by seed. It can be propagated by the division of clumps but this method is a big chore.
Uses: The date is eaten by both animals and humans. The dates are oblong, orange colored fruit with a diameter of roughly one inch. The dates grow in large clusters and contain one seed each.
The palm heart can also be eaten as a vegetable. The sap of the Senegal Date Palm can be tapped just before the tree flowers to make palm wine. an edible gun can also be produce from this tree.
The fibers of the unopened palm leaves are used to make carpets, kilts, and brooms.
The roots of the tree contain tannin which is used to make brown dye.
Interesting Facts: The Senegal Date Palm is considered an invasive plant species in the U.S. state of Florida.
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