Phoenix theophrasti

Family: Arecaceae    Palm Tree

Common Name: Theophrastus Date Palm

Common Synonymy:
Cretan Date Palm

Cold Hardiness Zone: 8b     View the UK and US zone maps

Identification:
Stems solitary or clustered, erect or ascending, slender to massive, often clothed in old leaf bases. Leaves: sheath fibers soft; petiole not split at base, armed, base not split, not forming crownshaft; blade pinnate; plication induplicate; segments lanceolate, in 1 or more planes; apices acute; basal segments modified into stout spines. Inflorescences axillary within crown of leaves, paniculate, ascending, much shorter than leaves, with 1 order of branching, alike in staminate and pistillate plants; prophyll often caducous, conspicuous, becoming boat-shaped, short; peduncular bracts absent; rachillae glabrous. Staminate flowers borne singly along rachillae; calyx cupulate, 3-lobed; petals 3, free, valvate; stamens 6, free; pistillode inconspicuous or absent. Pistillate flowers borne singly on rachillae; calyx cupulate, 3-lobed; petals 3, imbricate, free; staminodial ring cupulate or deeply 6-lobed; pistils 3 (only 1 developing), distinct; stigmas small. Fruits drupes, berrylike, fleshy; exocarp blackish brown, smooth; mesocarp fleshy or fibrous; endocarp papery. Seeds 1, elongate; endosperm homogeneous; embryo lateral [basal]; eophyll undivided, lanceolate. This palm has a stem measuring up to 35 centimeters across, and a dense crown of long, spiky leaves, which become a striking silvery blue-green colour once mature

General Information:
This is the cold-hardiest of the date palms. Similar in all its parts to the true date palm Phoenix dactylifera. Native to the eastern Mediterranean, the Cretan date palm is one of only two palm species endemic to Europe. Classified as Lower Risk / Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List 2007.

Distribution:

Native to, Greece, Turkey

Eight subpopulations are found on the Greek Island of Crete, with the largest at Vai containing a few thousand individuals, and four subpopulations occur along the southwest coast of the Datça Peninsula, Turkey. The Cretan data palm prefers to grow in the damp sandy beds of valleys and temporary streams, but it can also be found on rocky ground. It tends to grow fairly close to the sea, and does not occur above an altitude of 250 metres.

Location: Crete, Turkey (35.186493°N, 26.271057°E)

Observations
Map may not represent the complete natural distribution. (Markers display observation data).


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