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THE DATE PALM.
RELIABLE INFORMATION CONCERNING THE DATE, FURN
ISHED BY THE U. S. GOVERNMENT.
The Agricultural Department at Washington has recently published
a pamphlet on "The Date Palm and Its Culture," by Walter T.
Swingle, Agricultural Explorer, Section of Seed and Plant Intro
duction, from which we take extracts that will be of great interest
to those who have interests in the Imperial Settlements, as this
section of the United States is pointed out as being the great date
country of the future so far as the United States is concerned.
The «l:tt •- palm was one of th«- first
plants to be cultivated, It having
been grown for more than four thou
sand years along the Euphrates
ItiviT It has been for ages, and i>-
DATK I'M. MS IN* PULL HEARING AT IIONLON HKADINU ON TIIK LAND OWNKD HY TIIK CALIFORNIA HKVKI.OI'MKNT COMPANY AS A lIBADINQ KOH THE IMPERIAL CA^AL
SYSTEM ON TIIK COLORADO RIVKK.
Ht lll. the most Important food plant
•if the great deserts, and many re
giona in the Sahara ami In Arabia
Would not bo hahltablo wen* it not for
this plant. . . . For centurlea
tho transport of dates luih been tho
chief motive for the formation of
meat caravan routes which run In
every direction through tho deserts of
Anla and Africa. The oxporta of dates
lo Europe and to America has been
and is still an Important Industry
both In North Africa and In the
rpuntrlea belonging; to the Persian
(itilf. Tho value of the dntca Import -
44 Water is King- Here is its Kingdom."
IMPERIAL, CM., SATURDAY, NOVEMBER Hi, 1901.
Ed in the Cnlted StateH alone aver
aged for the t<Mi years ending June
i»i. 1900, $402,702 |mt annum, as ap- j
praised «t the exporting points. The !
real value when received at the !
American ports was doubtless 50 per
cent, greater or JGOO.OOO a year, an
amount now exceeded only by the Im
ports of two other dried fruits - Zante
(Ui i ants and Smyrna Hks. .
Peculiarities of the Date.
Unllko most of the ordinary fruit
trees, the date palm ban the male and
female (lower on separate individuals.
It grown from seed, about half of the
resulting palum are mate and about
liali fotnale. If Buch trees bo allowed
to grow to maturity in thlH propor
tion enough pollen Is blown by the
wind to fortlltxo all (no Rowers prop
crly. It would be, however, a very
expensive method of culture to Irri
gate and cultivate such a large pro
portion <>f male trees. The Arnlm —
and before th«*m l\w AssyrlariH —
learned to pollinate the palm artifi
cially, and from a Hfnall proportion of
male trwH to fertilize the flowers of
n very great number of female trees.
At the present time the proportion
followed in planting Is that of about
one malo tree to one hundred female
The date palm (lowers In the early
spring, producing from six to twenty
flower clusters, according to the a«e
and vigor of tne treo. Kadi flower
cluster on the female tree produces
a bunch of <lat<-s consisting of nu
merous fruits, borne on slender
twits, which branch from a main
stalk. Such a bunch may bear from
15 to ::>' |>bitncla of dates when ripe
and a vigorous tree is commonly al
lowed to produce from el«bt to twelve
such buuehes. . .
Needs Plenty of Water.
The date palm ileiuumls a fairly
abundant ami, above nil, a constant
j supply of water at the roots; at tho
1 same time, It delights in a perfectly
dry and very hot climate, A well
known Arabian proverb runs: "Tho
dato palm, the queen of tree**, must
have her feet in running wnter and
her head In the burning sky." It Is
• HH'-ntlal in order to avoid disappoint*
ment that these factors bo kept in
mind by all who attempt to cultivate
date palms: First, the roots must
have water; second, the leaves re
quire a hot, dry atmosphere with
abundant sunlight, If the plant Is to
mature dates of a good quality. An
other essential requirement of the
trws l« that the winters be not too
cold. The date palm Is able to stand
much more cold than an orange tree,
for example, but not so much as a
peach tree, and probably not even so
much as a ug tree, which can sprout
up from the roots if the twigs be
killed by an unusually cold snap,
whereas the date palm is usually
killed if the terminal bud be froz
en. . . .
Also No Rains.
In the Sahara no misfortune Is
more feared by the* inhabitants than a
heavy rain just as the fruit is ripen
ing. Such «t disaster may entail the
loss of the entire crop If the rain Is
followed by a few days of cloudy and
humid weather. . . .
For Five Thousand Years.
It is probable that the date palm
\ was tlrst extensively grown in the
I valley of tho Euphrates. It was ap
parently little known and but slightly
esteemed In ancient Egypt before 3QOO
li. C, although as early as 2000 Is. C.