Phoenix reclinata

Common Name

Senegal Date Palm, African Date Palm

Description

Stems: Clustering and leaning, to 10 m tall and 15-18 cm in diameter, leaf scars are crowded rings. In younger palms, the stem is covered with leaf bases and matted fibers. Leaves: Pinnate, induplicate, to 5 m long, with arching rachis which ends in a single leaflet; many narrow, glossy, dark green leaflets arranged in multiple planes for most of the length, but in a single plane near the tip; the lowermost leaflets (along the short petiole) are modified into sharp, thin spines; and no crown shaft is formed from leaf sheaths. Flowers and fruit: Inflorescences are orange-colored, to 1 m long, and branched to one order. Cream-colored staminate and pistillate flowers are produced on different plants. Fruits are up to 1-2.5 cm long, ovoid and reddish-brown to scarlet when ripe.

Diagnostic Features

Field: Clustering and leaning, to 10 m tall and 15-18 cm in diameter, leaf scars are crowded rings. In younger palms, the stem is covered with leaf bases and matted fibers. The leaves are pinnate, induplicate, to 5 m long, with arching rachis which ends in a single leaflet; leaflets are narrow, glossy, dark green, and are arranged in multiple planes.

May be confused with

Other Phoenix species, but the stem and leaflet arrangement are distinctive

Distribution

Native to tropical Africa, found along rivers and streams

Additional Comments

Because Phoenix species can hybridize easily and produce fertile crosses, determining the species within this genus might not be possible.

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council lists this species as a Category II invasive: exotic plants that show signs of increasing in abundance, but that have not yet altered native plant communities. Click here for more details.

Scientific Name

Phoenix reclinata Jacq.

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Phoenix abyssinica Drude

Phoenix leonensis Lodd. ex Kunth

Phoenix spinosa Schumach.

February 15, 2011