The Sex Life of a Date

Ido Zimet

 Date Palms are unique in that they are either a male tree or a female tree. The male trees produce pollen, and the female trees produce flowers. Unfortunately, neither birds or bees are attracted to the flowers, so the females have to be hand pollinated.

Pollination is a complicated process in date cultivation. If one were to depend on wind-aided natural pollination, 50 per cent of the trees should be male, which makes date farming uneconomical.

This, therefore, necessitated the adoption of a manual pollination process to ensure a rich crop. The natural, wind-aided pollination of date palms is a big constraint due to the requirement of equal proportion of male and female trees in a field.

This process meant that a field could never be fully productive as half of the space would be taken up by male plants.

This allows farms to be rid of male plants and nurture female plants in their place. To facilitate pollination, only two or three male date palms are required in a field.

1 comment

  • Very interesting article! So much work!!! I feel sorry for the Male Trees who don’t get to keep their 50% presence.


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