Gardening Directory

Ph[oe]nix Dactylifera

The date palm, very extensively grown for its fruit, which affords the principal food for a large portion of the inhabitants of Africa, Asia, and southern Europe, and likewise of the various domestic animals--dogs, horses, and camels being alike partial to it. The tree

attains to a great age, and bears annually for two hundred years. The huts of the poorer classes are constructed of the leaves: the fiber surrounding the bases of their stalks is used for making ropes and coarse cloth; the stalks are used for the manufacture of baskets, brooms, crates, walking sticks, etc., and the wood for building substantial houses; the heart of young leaves is eaten as a vegetable; the sap affords an intoxicating beverage. It may be further mentioned that the date was, probably, the palm which supplied the "branches of palm trees" mentioned by St. John (xii, 13) as having been carried by the people who went to meet Christ on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and from which Palm Sunday takes its name.

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