Phoenix canariensis (Arecaceae) is native to Canary Islands. It is a solitary or clump forming dioecious feather palms. It is also called Canary Island Date Palm.
The trunk is thickened, stout and covered with bases of rarely branched petiole bases.The tree grow up to 18-20 meters in height and its trunk or crown has a diameter of 10-12 meters.
The leaves are pinnate, elongate, lanceolate, coriaceous, unequal and attached with folded base. They are 8-15 ft. long and rigid comprising up to 200 V-shaped leaflets or pinnae. There are numerous pinnae of leaf and usually modified into sharp spines.The pinnate fronds can be up to 5-6 meters in length.
Inflorescence is branched, axillary and has several buds. The flowersare unisexual, sessile and small. The male flowers are oblong to ovoid in shape while its calyx is 3 toothed and cup shaped. The petals are valvate, oblong, 6 stamens are present which are united at base. The female flowers are 3 petals, imbricate and rounded. There are 3 free carpels with sessile stigmas and one ovule is present in each carpel but only one matured. The tree reaches reproductive maturity and flower after 6 to 7 years.
The fruitsis berry and one seeded with fleshy pericarp and membranous endocarp. They produces between 5,000 to 30,000 obovoid dates annually. The dates have fibrous flesh content and measures up to 15-20 mm in length & 12-15 mm in diameter.
The seeds are ventrally grooved, straight and homogeneous endosperms. The seeds are used for propagation and germinates after 85-110 days while its cotyledons arise at about one year of age. The plant lives for 200-300 years and averagely weight up to 10 tons in mass. It is generally found in the range of 200-600 meter altitude.
Landscaping of Phoenix canariensis
Phoenix canariensis can be planted out in open air but it has become a common landscaping element from 1890s. It is highly praised for its elegant beauty and adjust in anywhere on site. They can be planted as a feature trees in public and private gardens. They can also planted in streets lining boulevards and avenues. This plant is the most rapid and widespread ornamental palm as compared to Californian Fan Palm and Mexican Fan Palm. They are distributed globally in warm temperature zones. They are suitable for instant gardens.
How to growPhoenix canariensis
Phoenix canariensis are grown by seeds. The seeds germinates readily and takes about 1-2 months.
Fruit Ripening Stages
The fruit pulp is edible but usually too thin to be worth eating therefore, it is called famine food. Traditionally there are four distinct stages of drupe ripening i.e. immature green drupes, mature drupes, full coloured to soft brown drupes and finally raisin drupes. The fruit attains its maximum size in the full coloured stage in summer. As the fruit continuous to ripen, the glucose and fructose content continuous to increase with increasing sun exposure hours. The apex of the fruit starts ripening at the soft brown stage and turns dark brown to black in colour with loss of moisture.
How to take care of Phoenix canariensis
- Phoenix canariensis prefers well-drained soil and can grow in saline & heavy clay soil.
- It cannot grow in shade and needs full bright sun light.
- The can tolerate salt, winds and maritime exposure.
- It is very sensitive to one or more pests like weevil or diseases which can affect the tree health.
- The use of appropriate fertilizers will helps to avoid the attack of pests and diseases.
- It will require annual pruning to remove old fronds which can become chlorotic due to the potassium or magnesium deficiency.
- The wet trunk and soil will encourage Ganoderma fungus but removing the conk from the base of tree will help to control the spread of disease to other plants.
Benefits of Phoenix canariensis
- Phoenix canariensis produce abundant number of drupes, which is a major source of food for many species.
- It is important diet of flying-foxes, crows, currawongs and lizards.
- It can be freely hybridizes with Phoenix dactylifera for quality selection of characters like appearance, texture and sugar content etc.
- Inflorescence buds are used for sweet sap which is eaten as a palm honey or syrup.
- The leaves are used for a range of woven products.
- The dates has been used traditionally in Islamic world for treating many kinds of ailments such as respiratory disorders and stimulate heart rate.
- They are also recommended for lactating women to add nutrition into their diet.
- The people who consumes dates regularly have extremely low incidence of heart diseases and cancer as compared to the people who do not eat dates.
- The tree is grown ornamentally in urban areas where air pollution, drought and poor drainage are common.