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Useful Tropical Plants

Phoenix sylvestris

(L.) Roxb.

Arecaceae

+ Synonyms

Elate sylvestris L.

Elate versicolor Salisb.

Common Name: Wild Date Plum

Phoenix sylvestris
Plant growing in the Thal desert, Pakistan
Photograph by: Jugni
Creative Commons License
Phoenix sylvestris Phoenix sylvestris Phoenix sylvestris Phoenix sylvestris

General Information

Phoenix sylvestris is a single-stemmed, evergreen palm tree producing a hemispherical crown of more than 50 leaves at the top of an unbranched stem. The stem is usually 10 - 15 metres tall, occasionally reaching 20 metres, and is 20 - 30cm in diameter (excluding leaf sheaths). The gently recurved leaves can be are around 1.5 - 4 metres long on a stem up to 1 metre long, and are spiny near their base[
372
Title
Flowers of India
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.flowersofindia.net/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A wed site of native Indian plants, plus cultivated and naturalized species. It has good quality photos and terse details on more than 3,000 species and cultivars.
,
1737
Title
A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae; Coryphoidede)
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol 53, 3, 513-575, 1998
Author
Barrow S.C.
Website
http://10.2307/4110478
Publisher
 
Year
1998
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. Typically, the plant has a swollen base with a mass of roots, and retains the leaf bases on the trunk[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
,
1737
Title
A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae; Coryphoidede)
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol 53, 3, 513-575, 1998
Author
Barrow S.C.
Website
http://10.2307/4110478
Publisher
 
Year
1998
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
The plant is sometimes of considerable local economic importance, particularly as a source of sugar, and is sometimes cultivated for this purtpose[
287
Title
Flora of Pakistan
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.efloras.org
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
As of 2006, there is not much information on habitats available, but it is being developed and promises to be an excellent resource.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. An ornamental plant, it is often grown in gardens and along the sides of roads[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
1737
Title
A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae; Coryphoidede)
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol 53, 3, 513-575, 1998
Author
Barrow S.C.
Website
http://10.2307/4110478
Publisher
 
Year
1998
ISBN
 
Description
 

Range

E. Asia - Himalayas and plains, from Pakistan and western India to Nepal and Myanmar.

Habitat

Low-lying wasteland, open forest, grassland, along river banks and in areas that have been disturbed or are prone to periodic inundation, causing water-logging[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
,
1737
Title
A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae; Coryphoidede)
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol 53, 3, 513-575, 1998
Author
Barrow S.C.
Website
http://10.2307/4110478
Publisher
 
Year
1998
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. It can be found in open tropical rainforest, open forest and grassland[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height15.00 m
Growth RateFast
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the drier to moist tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 25 - 35°c, but can tolerate 20 - 40°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -9°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 400 - 700mm, but tolerates 250 - 1,000mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Requires an open sunny position[
231
Title
Palms for Cooler Climates.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Trebah Enterprises.
Year
1993
ISBN
0 9521952 0 8
Description
An excellent little booklet on the subject, though it does not mention many plant uses.
]. Plants grow well in full sun, even when small[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
]. Requires a well-drained soil[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
]. It can grow in a wide range of soil types but prefers sandy well drained but moist soils[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It will not survive in wet or badly drained soils[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7.5, tolerating 5 - 8[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Plants can tolerate at least some maritime exposure with salt spray and somewhat saline soil conditions[
297
Title
Palms of the World
Publication
 
Author
Blombery. A. & Rodd. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson
Year
1992
ISBN
0-207-14848-1
Description
An excellent guide, well illustrated, with information on cultivation, uses, habitat etc of almost 200 species of Palms.
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
314
Title
Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains at least a little information on the majority of palm and cycad species, plus a wealth of photographs. A first class website.
].
A fast-growing plant[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Phoenix species are quite liable to hybridize where the various species meet as a result of cultivation[
1737
Title
A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae; Coryphoidede)
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol 53, 3, 513-575, 1998
Author
Barrow S.C.
Website
http://10.2307/4110478
Publisher
 
Year
1998
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Edible Uses

Fruit. A sweet flavour[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Sometimes eaten[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. Of a very inferior character[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Sap - it can be concentrated into a syrup or fermented into alcohol[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. One of the main sources of sugar in Bengal[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
]. The sap is obtained from the unopened inflorescence[
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
]. The tip of this is cut off and the sap then flows from this cut. The flow can be up to 5 litres a day for several months, it contains about 14% sugar[
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
]. See also [
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
].

The pith of the stem is sometimes harvested and made into a kind of sago[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Medicinal

The fruit is useful in the treatment of heart complaints, abdominal complaints, fevers, vomiting and loss of consciousness[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The fruit pounded and mixed with almonds, quince seeds, pistachio nuts and sugar, forms a restorative remedy[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

A paste made from the seed, combined with the root of Achyranthes aspera, is chewed with betel leaves (Areca catechu) as a remedy for ague[
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
1737
Title
A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae; Coryphoidede)
Publication
Kew Bulletin Vol 53, 3, 513-575, 1998
Author
Barrow S.C.
Website
http://10.2307/4110478
Publisher
 
Year
1998
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

The juice obtained from the tree is considered to be a cooling beverage[
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

The roots are used to stop toothache[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

The central tender part of the plant is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Other Uses

The fibrous leaves are used in weaving for making bags, baskets, brooms, fans, mats etc[
287
Title
Flora of Pakistan
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.efloras.org
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
As of 2006, there is not much information on habitats available, but it is being developed and promises to be an excellent resource.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The fibre obtained from the leaves is plentiful, soft, bleaches well, and is admirably adapted for paper-making[
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The fibrous leaf petioles are beaten and twisted into ropes which are traditionally used for drawing water from wells[
387
Title
Economic Products of India. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Watt. G.
Publisher
Government of India: Calcutta.
Year
1883
ISBN
 
Description
Although over 100 years old, it still contains a wealth of information on useful plants. Many of the botanical names have been changed since then, so you have to check for up to date names. The book can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The stems are used for thatching when making local houses[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Propagation

Seed - probably best sown as soon as it is ripe in containers, otherwise sow the seed as soon as you obtain it. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 months.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2022-09-24. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Phoenix+sylvestris>

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