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Phoenix reclinata

Family Name: Arecaceae (Palmae)
Synonyms: Phoenix spinosa
Common Name: African Wild Date, Senegal Date Palm
Full Sun Moderate Water Fruit or Vegetable Clustering Habit Palm


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Palm (Cluster Palm)
Maximum Height 12 m


Native Distribution Africa & Madagascar
Native Habitat Terrestrial

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a clustering palm, up to 12 m tall, and often forming thicket. Cut stem produce clear yellowish sticky substance. Leaf sheath is persistent 1 – 2 m below crown.
Foliage Leaves are arching (2 – 3.5 m long) with reddish-brown fibrous leaf sheath and comprises of 80 – 130 leaflets on each side (28 – 45 cm long and 2.2 – 3.6 cm wide). Leaflets near the base are modified into spines (3 – 9 cm long) and are irregularly arranged.
Flowers The bracts enveloping the male and female inflorescence are green-yellow and split open 1 or 2 times between margins when mature. The male inflorescence is erect (17 – 30 cm long) and comprises of cream-white male flowers crowded on the stalk. Female inflorescence is erect (about 60 cm long) but slowly becomes pendulous as fruits are developed.
Fruits Fruit is ovoid, and matures yellow – orange (1.3 – 2 cm long and 0.7 – 1.3 cm wide) with sweet flesh (about 0.1 – 0. 2 cm thick). Seed is obovoid with rounded tip ( 1.2 – 1.4 cm long and 0.5 cm wide).
Habitat It is found in moist forest, rocky hillsides and grasslands, up to 3000 m altitude.
Cultivation A wet trunk and wet soil encourage disease.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable)
[Others]: Trunks are used as beams and poles in construction. The leaf rachis is used for making thatch, floor mats and fish traps. Leaflets from young shoot are harvested for weaving baskets. The fruits are eaten as a snack and the seeds can be dried and ground into flour. The seeds can also be roasted and used as a substitute for coffee. The palm heart and flower buds are occasionally eaten as a vegetable. In South Africa, villagers harvest the sap and process it into palm wine.

Landscaping Features

Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.0 (Palm - Cluster)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Palm) Clustering Habit, Aboveground

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Orange, Yellow / Golden

Image Repository



Master ID 1371
Species ID 2664
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 10 December 2021.