The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree. ~ Psalms 92:12, The Bible
The date palm probably arose in the Near East over 50 million years ago. Date palms has been cultivated at least since 7000 bce. There are dozens of mentions of date palms in the Bible and Koran. Dates have been a staple food in the Middle East and Indus Valley for thousands of years.
Trade spread date palms to tropical lands throughout the world. There are numerous cultivars.
A date palm takes 4–8 years to mature before producing dates. It may then provide copious fruit for a decade.
Palms may live for 150 years. Commercial cultures are replaced at an earlier age.
Date palms grow to 23 meters high. The date palm is dioecious (separate male and female plants). Both sexes bear fruit.
Dates ripen in 4 stages, denoted throughout the world in Arabic: kimri (unripe), khlal (full-size, crunchy), rutab (ripe, soft), and tamr (ripe, sun-dried).
A ripe date is 80% sugar. The rest is dietary fiber, protein, fat, and mineral matter.
Dates possess plenty of potassium. They also offer copper, manganese, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
Dates are particularly beneficial to women in their last month of pregnancy, as they ease childbirth labor.
The sap of the date palm is used as a beverage, often fermented into an alcoholic liquor. Sap extraction injures the tree, so typically only unproductive date palms are tapped for sap.