Phoenix sylvestris

Common name

silver date palm, India date palm, wild date palm

Description

Stems: Solitary, not as large as P. canariensis, but very robust, erect to 15 m tall and 45 cm in diameter, bulging with above ground roots at the base and sometimes bulging at the top of the stem with old leaf bases and fibers; leaf scars are prominent, raised, and broadly diamond-shaped. Leaves: Pinnate, induplicate, to 4-5 m long, with a gently arching rachis which ends in a single leaflet; many narrow, blue-green leaflets, arranged in several planes, and grouped in twos and threes; the lowermost leaflets (along the short petiole) are modified into sharp, thin spines; and no crown shaft is formed from leaf sheaths. Flowers and fruit: Inflorescences are yellowish, to 1 m long, and branched to one order. Staminate and pistillate flowers are produced on different plants and are white in color. Fruits are up to 2.5 cm long, ovoid and orange-yellow ripening to red-purple.

Diagnostic features

Field: Solitary palm, not as large as P. canariensis, but very robust, bulging with above ground roots at the base and sometimes bulging at the top of the stem with old leaf bases and fibers; leaf scars are prominent, raised, and broadly diamond-shaped. Pinnate, induplicate leaves, to 4-5 m long, with a gently arching rachis which ends in a single leaflet; many narrow, blue-green leaflets, arranged in several planes, and grouped in twos and threes.

May be confused with

Other Phoenix species, but the stem and leaflet arrangement are distinctive

Distribution

Native to India and Pakistan

Additional comments

Because Phoenix species can hybridize easily and produce fertile crosses, determining the species within this genus might not be possible.

Scientific name

Phoenix sylvestris (L.) Roxb.

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Elate sylvestris L.

Last Updated May 2014

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