Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is a flowering plant species in the palm family Arecaceae, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Phoenix dactylifera grows 21–23 m in height, growing singly or forming a clump with several stems from a single root system. The leaves are 4–6 metres long.
The fruit is known as a date. Dates are oval-cylindrical, 3–7 cm long, and 2–3 cm diameter, and when ripe, range from bright red to bright yellow in colour, depending on variety. Dates contain a single stone about 2–2.5 cm long and 6–8 mm thick.
The date palm is dioecious, having separate male and female plants. They can be easily grown from seed. Date palms can take 4 to 8 years after planting before they will bear fruit, and produce viable yields for commercial harvest between 7 to 10 years. Mature date palms can produce 68 to 176 kilograms of dates per harvest season, although they do not all ripen at the same time so several harvests are required. Dry or soft dates are eaten out-of-hand, or may be pitted and stuffed with fillings such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, candied orange and lemon peel, tahini, marzipan or cream cheese.
Dates provide a wide range of essential nutrients, and are a very good source of dietary potassium. The sugar content of ripe dates is about 80%.