Riverland Date Garden

Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera)

The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is a monocotyledonous and dioecious perennial species, which belongs to the family Arecaceae. Date palm is an important fruit crop primarily grown in the arid regions of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. It has high tolerance to environmental stresses including drought, high temperature and salinity and provides a practical solution to food insecurity and poor rural livelihoods in many regions. Statistical records indicate that the harvested area of date palms globally was 1.11 million hectares with an annual production of 7.5 million tons in 2011 (FAOSTAT, 2012).

Date palm is now cultivated on all five continents representing over 40 countries, many of which are located in the Middle East and North Africa where 89% of dates are produced. In recent years, there has been a surge in the number of date palms planted in this region. For example, the total number of date palms in the UAE grew from 10 million in 1999 to 43 million palms in 2010. Australian production has largely been restricted to central Australia in the past, although more recent plantings have been made in Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and in the Cunnamulla-Eulo area of western Queensland.