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The datiles are the fruits of date palms (Phoenix dactylifera) a palm belonging to the family of the Arecaceae that can reach 30 meters in height. Date palm trees grow naturally in North Africa. They can be seen in great abundance in Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Iraq and Palestine, although it also appears cultivated in many regions of the world of warm climate. Its area of ​​expansion extends from the Canary Islands to India.

The datiles appear in the form of hanging clusters under the large pinnate leaves that develop in plume form. The trunks are characterized by their thick bark in which the marks of the old leaves persist. The leaves or fronds, of green color with gray tones, have long petioles covered with spikes in the base. They can reach 5 meters in length. The flowers are small and yellow and from them are born the fruits, edible berries called oblong datiles that can reach 4 cm in length.

In order to produce datiles, the female palms need to have male feet in the vicinity. When they are cultivated, the pollination is done in an artificial way (They cut the male inflorescence and hang in the center of the female). Datiles can only ripen in areas of warm and dry weather, such as our region.

In northern Spain there are palm groves. It is the palm groves of Albatera, Orihuela and Elche, the latter the most important in the province of Alicante, are plantations from the Muslim domination that sowed around the city with date palms. In this way this plant could take advantage of an area where the precipitations were very scarce. These palm groves constitute a place of great tourist importance while providing a good harvest of datiles and the raw material to make the white palms with which adorns the procession of Palm Sunday.

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