Tag Archives: Phoenix dactylifera

Phoenix dactylifera (Date)

Botanical Name : Phoenix dactylifera
Family: Arecaceae
Genus: Phoenix
Species: P. dactylifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Arecales

Common Names ;Date

Habitat :Phoenix dactylifera is native to the Persian Gulf.It is cultivated for it’s sweet fruit all along the middle east dry areas.

Dates are an important traditional crop in Turkey, Iraq, Arabia, and north Africa west to Morocco and are mentioned more than 50 times in the Bible. Dates (especially Medjool and Deglet Noor) are also cultivated in southern California, Arizona and southern Florida in the United States.

Description:
The date palm is dioecious, having separate male and female plants.It is a medium-sized plant, 15–25 m tall, growing singly or forming a clump with several stems from a single root system. The leaves are 3–5 m long, with spines on the petiole, and pinnate, with about 150 leaflets; the leaflets are 30 cm long and 2 cm wide. The full span of the crown ranges from 6 to 10 m.

click to see the pictures

The fruit is known as a date. The fruit’s English name (through Old French), as well as the Latin species name dactylifera, both come from the Greek word for “finger,” dáktulos, because of the fruit’s elongated shape. Dates are oval-cylindrical, 3–7 cm long, and 2–3 cm diameter, and when unripe, range from bright red to bright yellow in colour, depending on variety. Dates contain a single seed about 2–2.5 cm long and 6–8 mm thick. Three main cultivar groups of date exist: soft (e.g. ‘Barhee’, ‘Halawy‘, ‘Khadrawy’, ‘Medjool’), semi-dry (e.g. ‘Dayri’, ‘Deglet Noor’, ‘Zahdi’), and dry (e.g. ‘Thoory’). The type of fruit depends on the glucose, fructose and sucrose content.

Cultivation & Propagation:
Dates are naturally wind pollinated but in both traditional oasis horticulture and in the modern commercial orchards they are entirely pollinated manually. Natural pollination occurs with about an equal number of male and female plants. However, with assistance, one male can pollinate up to 100 females. Since the males are of value only as pollinators, this allows the growers to use their resources for many more fruit producing female plants. Some growers do not even maintain any male plants as male flowers become available at local markets at pollination time. Manual pollination is done by skilled labourers on ladders. In some areas such as Iraq the pollinator climbs the tree using a special climbing tool that wraps around the tree trunk and the climber’s back to keep him attached to the trunk while climbing. Less often the pollen may be blown onto the female flowers by a wind machine.

They can be easily grown from seed, but only 50% of seedlings will be female and hence fruit bearing, and dates from seedling plants are often smaller and of poorer quality. Most commercial plantations thus use cuttings of heavily cropping cultivars. Plants grown from cuttings will fruit 2–3 years earlier than seedling plants.

A date palm cultivar, known as Judean date palm is renowned for its long-lived orthodox seed, which successfully sprouted after accidental storage for 2000 years. This particular seed was presently reputed to be the oldest viable seed until the sprouting of over 30,000 year old silene stenophylla seeds, but the upper survival time limit of properly stored seeds remains unknown.

Date palms can take 4 to 8 years after planting before they will bear fruit, and produce viable yields for commercial harvest between 7 to 10 years. Mature date palms can produce 80–120 kilograms (176–264 lb) of dates per harvest season, although they do not all ripen at the same time so several harvests are required. In order to get fruit of marketable quality, the bunches of dates must be thinned and bagged or covered before ripening so that the remaining fruits grow larger and are protected from weather and pests such as birds.

Edible Uses:
Dates fruit  have been a staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years. They are believed to have originated around the Persian Gulf, and have been cultivated since ancient times from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt, possibly as early as 4000 BCE. The Ancient Egyptians used the fruits to be made into date wine, and ate them at harvest. There is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in eastern Arabia in 6000 BCE. (Alvarez-Mon 2006).
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In later times, traders spread dates around South and South West Asia, northern Africa, and Spain and Italy. Dates were introduced into Mexico and California by the Spaniards by 1765, around Mission San Ignacio.

Dates ripen in four stages, which are known throughout the world by their Arabic names kimri (unripe), khlal (full-size, crunchy), rutab (ripe, soft), tamr (ripe, sun-dried). A 100 gram portion of fresh dates is a source of vitamin C and supplies 230 kcal (960 kJ) of energy. Since dates contain relatively little water, they do not become much more concentrated upon drying, although the vitamin C is lost in the process.

In Islamic countries, dates and yogurt or milk are a traditional first meal when the sun sets during Ramadan.

Dry or soft dates are eaten out-of-hand, or may be pitted and stuffed with fillings such as almonds, walnuts, candied orange and lemon peel, tahini, marzipan or cream cheese. Pitted dates are also referred to as stoned dates. Partially dried pitted dates may be glazed with glucose syrup for use as a snack food. Dates can also be chopped and used in a range of sweet and savory dishes, from tajines (tagines) in Morocco to puddings, ka’ak (types of Arab cookies) and other dessert items. Date nut bread, a type of cake, is very popular in the United States, especially around holidays. Dates are also processed into cubes, paste called “‘ajwa”, spread, date syrup or “honey” called “dibs” or “rub” in Libya, powder (date sugar), vinegar or alcohol. Recent innovations include chocolate-covered dates and products such as sparkling date juice, used in some Islamic countries as a non-alcoholic version of champagne, for special occasions and religious times such as Ramadan.

Dates can also be dehydrated, ground and mixed with grain to form a nutritious stockfeed. Dried dates are fed to camels, horses and dogs in the Sahara. In northern Nigeria, dates and peppers added to the native beer are believed to make it less intoxicating.

Sweet sap tapped from date palm in West Bengal, IndiaYoung date leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable, as is the terminal bud or heart, though its removal kills the palm. The finely ground seeds are mixed with flour to make bread in times of scarcity. The flowers of the date palm are also edible. Traditionally the female flowers are the most available for sale and weigh 300–400 grams. The flower buds are used in salad or ground with dried fish to make a condiment for bread.

Dates provide a wide range of essential nutrients, and are a very good source of dietary potassium. The sugar content of ripe dates is about 80%; the remainder consists of protein, fiber, and trace elements including boron, cobalt, copper, fluorine, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and zinc. The glycemic index for three different varieties of dates are 35.5 (khalas), 49.7 (barhi) and 30.5 (bo ma’an).

In India and Pakistan, North Africa, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire, date palms are tapped for the sweet sap, which is converted into palm sugar (known as jaggery or gur), molasses or alcoholic beverages. In North Africa the sap obtained from tapping palm trees is known as l?gb?. If left for a sufficient period of time (typically hours, depending on the temperature) l?gb? easily becomes an alcoholic drink. Special skill is required when tapping the palm tree so that it does not die.

In Southeast Spain (where a large date plantation exists including UNESCO protected Palmeral of Elche) dates (usually pitted with fried almond) are served wrapped in bacon and shallow fried.  It is also used to make Jallab.
Medicinal Uses:
The fruit, because of its tannin content, is used medicinally as a detersive and astringent in intestinal troubles. In the form of an infusion, decoction, syrup or paste, is administered as a treatment for sore throat, colds, bronchial catarrh. It is taken to relieve fever, cystitis, gonorrhea, edema, liver and abdominal troubles. And it is said to counteract alcohol intoxication.  The seed powder is an ingredient in a paste given to relieve ague. A gum that exudes from the wounded trunk is employed in India for treating diarrhea and genito-urinary ailments. It is diuretic and demulcent. The roots are used against toothache. The pollen yields an estrogenic principle, estrone, and has a gonadotropic effect on young rats.  One traditional belief is that it can counteract alcohol intoxication. The seed powder is also used in some traditional medicines. Because of their laxative quality, dates are considered to be good at preventing constipation..

Other Uses Of the Plant :
Date seeds are soaked and ground up for animal feed. Their oil is suitable for use in soap and cosmetics. They can also be processed chemically as a source of oxalic acid. The seeds are also burned to make charcoal for silversmiths, and can be strung in necklaces. Date seeds are also ground and used in the manner of coffee beans, or as an additive to coffee.

Stripped fruit clusters are used as brooms. In Pakistan, a viscous, thick syrup made from the ripe fruits is used as a coating for leather bags and pipes to prevent leaking.

Date palm sap is used to make palm syrup and numerous edible products derived from the syrup.

Date palm leaves are used for Palm Sunday in the Christian religion. In North Africa, they are commonly used for making huts. Mature leaves are also made into mats, screens, baskets and fans. Processed leaves can be used for insulating board. Dried leaf petioles are a source of cellulose pulp, used for walking sticks, brooms, fishing floats and fuel. Leaf sheaths are prized for their scent, and fibre from them is also used for rope, coarse cloth, and large hats. The leaves are also used as a lulav in the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Date palm wood is used for posts and rafters for huts; it is lighter than coconut and not very durable. It is also used for construction such as bridges and aqueducts, and parts of dhows. Leftover wood is burnt for fuel.

Where craft traditions still thrive, such as in Oman, the palm tree is the most versatile of all indigenous plants, and virtually every part of the tree is utilized to make functional items ranging from rope and baskets to beehives, fishing boats, and traditional dwellings.

When Muslims break fast in the evening meal of Ramadan, it is traditional to eat a date first.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_dactylifera
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm
http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week432.shtml

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Ziziphus

 

Botanical Name: Zizyphus Jububa
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Ziziphus
Species: Z. jujuba
Kingdom: Planta
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Z. sativa. Z. vulgaris. Z. zizyphus. (L.)Karsten. Rhamnus zizyphus.

Common Names: jujube ( sometimes jujuba), red date, Chinese date, Korean date, or Indian date

English Name :Indian Jujube
Bengali Name : Boroi

Habitat : Ziziphus is native to   E. Asia – China, Japan.   It grows on  dry gravelly or stony slopes of hills and mountains.

DESCRIPTION:

Ziziphus is a small deciduous tree or shrub reaching a height of 5–12 metres (16–39 ft), usually with thorny branches. The leaves are shiny-green, ovate-acute, 2–7 centimetres (0.79–2.76 in) wide and 1–3 centimetres (0.39–1.18 in) broad, with three conspicuous veins at the base, and a finely toothed margin. The flowers are small, 5 millimetres (0.20 in) wide, with five inconspicuous yellowish-green petals. The fruit is an edible oval drupe 1.5–3 centimetres (0.59–1.18 in) deep; when immature it is smooth-green, with the consistency and taste of an apple, maturing brown to purplish-black and eventually wrinkled, looking like a small date. There is a single hard stone similar to an olive stone.

It is one of the most hardy fruit tree.These deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs are natives of the warmer climates. Some are found in California, Texas and Mexico. The most popular is Z. jujuba, commonly known as the Jujube or Chinese Date. The Chinese Date isn’t a true date tree, but the 1- to 2-inch, edible fruits resemble dates and can be eaten fresh, dried or preserved. This tree ultimately grows from 15 to 25 feet high and provides a light, filtered shade. Its spiny branches are clothed with ¾- to 2½-inch, dark green leaves that are quite pest-resistant. In early summer, the Chinese Date produces clusters of tiny, yellow flowers, followed by the fruits, which ripen in late fall. This tree ordinarily begins to produce fruit the first year it is planted. The wood of this tree is hard and heavy and is widely used in some
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

Click to see the picture

Click to see the picture

 

Ziziphus is a genus of about 40 species of spiny shrubs and small trees in the buckthorn family Rhamnaceae, distributed in the warm-temperate and subtropical regions throughout the world. The leaves are alternate, entire, with three prominent basal veins, and 2-7 cm long; some species are deciduous, others evergreen. The flowers are small, inconspicuous yellow-green. The fruit is an edible drupe, yellow-brown, red, or black, globose or oblong, 1-5 cm long, often very sweet and sugary, reminiscent of a date in texture and flavour.

Ziziphus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Bucculatrix zizyphella (which feeds exclusively on the genus) and Endoclita malabaricus.

The Jujube (Z. zizyphus) is the best known species. Other species include Z. spinachristi from southwestern Asia, Z. lotus from the Mediterranean region, and Ber (Z. mauritiana), which is found from western Africa to India. Ziziphus joazeiro grows in the Caatinga of Brazil.

Potting: The Chinese Date should be grown in milder climates; it does better where the summers are long and hot. It can be grown in full sun or light shade in almost any soil, though the better the soil the more valuable the fruits will be.

Propagation: These trees are increased by rooting cuttings or by grafting named varieties on understocks raised from seeds.

The Mineral & vitamin contents of Zizyphus are: calcium,phosphorous,iron,carotene,thiamine,riboflavin,niacin and vitamin-C. Its calorific value is 74. The fruit contains zizyphic acid and tannins.
Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. Mealy and sweet. A sourish-sweet flavour. The fruit can be eaten fresh, dried like dates or cooked in puddings, cakes, breads, jellies, soups etc. The dried fruit has the nicest taste. The fruits are often left to become wrinkled and spongy, which increases their sweetness, and are then eaten fresh or cooked. The dried fruit can also be ground into a powder. This powder is used in the preparation of ‘kochujang’, a fermented hot pepper-soybean paste that resembles miso. Fruits are about 13mm in diameter and contain one or two seeds. Average yields from wild trees in the Himalayas are 9.5kg per year. The fruit contains about 8.7% sugars, 2.6% protein, 1.4% ash, 1.7% pectin and 1.3% tannin. The fruit is about 25mm long, though it can be larger in cultivated varieties. The fruit can be used as a coffee substitute. Leaves – cooked. A famine food, they are only used when all else fails. A nutritional analysis is available.

Composition:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Fruit (Dry weight)

*350 Calories per 100g
*Water : 0%
*Protein: 7.3g; Fat: 1.2g; Carbohydrate: 84g; Fibre: 4g; Ash: 3g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 130mg; Phosphorus: 168mg; Iron: 3.5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 12mg; Potassium: 1050mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 125mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.1mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.18mg; Niacin: 2.8mg; B6: 0mg; C: 300mg;
*Reference:
*Notes: The figures given here are the median of a range given in the report.

Medicinal Uses :

Jujube is both a delicious fruit and an effective herbal remedy.  It aids weight gain, improves muscular strength, and increases stamina.  In Chinese medicine, jujube is prescribed as a qi tonic to strengthen liver function.  Mildly sedative and antiallergenic, it is given to reduce irritability and restlessness..  It is also used to improve the taste of unpalatable prescriptions, as a buffer to improve synergy and minimize side effects.  In Japan, jujube has been shown to increase immune-system resistance.  In China, laboratory animals fed a jujube decoction gained weight and showed improved endurance.  In one clinical study, 12 patients with liver ailments were given jujube, peanuts, and brown sugar nightly. In 4 weeks, their liver function had improved.  The fruit is also used for chronic fatigue, diarrhea, anemia and hysteria; the seeds for palpitations, insomnia, nervous exhaustion, night sweats and excessive perspiration.  Long term use reputedly improves the complexion.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), suan zao ren (Ziziphus spinosa) is considered to be sweet and sour in taste, and neutral in action. It is believed to nourish the heart yin, augment the liver blood, and calm the spirit (TCM medical terms). It is used to treat irritability, insomnia and heart palpitations.

Zizyphus is beneficial in the treatment of mental retardation.A handful of dry fruit is boiled in half litre of water and should be taken daily at night before retiring.It increases functioning of brain by releasing more glutamic acid into the bloodstream. The bark made from zizyphus is useful in arresting secretion and bleeding.

Stomach disorders:The bark can be used for treating diarrhoea,dysentary and colic.The infusion of the inner cover of the bark is used as a purgative in constipation.

Influenza and colds: Zizyphus is useful in preventing frequent attacks of cold and influenza. A teaspoonful of fresh fruit juice extracted from the fruit can be taken with a pinch of papper once daily as preventive.

Conjunctivitis:An infution of the leaves can be used as an eye lotion in case of conjunctivitis.

Scalp disorderss: A paste of its leaves can be applied over the scalp to prevent scalp disorder.It also lengthens the hair besides darkening them.

Mouth disorders: Infusion of the fresh and tender leaved,mixed with salt is a useful gargle for sore throat, inflammation onf the mouth, bleeding from gums and cracked tongue due to excessive consumption of sour fruits.

Other different uses: Fresh baked leaved are useful for piles. Those baked leaves are pounded with some castor oil. This worm poultice can be applied over piles.The process should be repeated twice daily for a week. A paste of leaves and small branches of the herb can be applied with excellant result over boils, carbuncles and abcesses to promote suppuration.It can be applied beneficially over painful boils and styes.This paste mixed with a teaspoon of lime juice , can also be applied as a poultice in the treatment of scorpion sting. Infusion of its leaves can be applied as a lotion to wash the wounds and other ulcers.

The mythological lotus tree is often equated with Z. lotus, though the Date Palm is also a possible candidate. The Indian name of Ziziphus is ber (or bor).

Known Hazards  : Caution in diabetics on allopathic medication

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Resources:

Miracle of Herbs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziziphus
http://www.botany.com/zizyphus.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jujube

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ziziphus+jujuba

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