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Date Palm
Phoenix dactylifera 'Black Sphinx'

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phoenix (FEE-niks) (Info)
Species: dactylifera (dak-ty-LIF-er-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Black Sphinx
Registered or introduced: 1928


Edible Fruits and Nuts



over 40 ft. (12 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow


Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 29, 2012, QCHammy from San Tan Valley, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

This date was a chance discovery made in the late '20s in Phoenix, AZ. It was believed to be the result of a genetically unique seed that fell from an established Havani date tree. It has a unique dark black fruit that gives it it's name that is said to be less fibrous and thinner skinned. The problem is that it has a short shelf life so it was not viable for commercial production. It became extremely popular in the Phoenix area and was widely grown until the population boom put an end to the date industry in Arizona. The remainder of one of these Black Sphinx groves can be seen in the Arcadia neighborhood in Phoenix. It's numbers in the Phoenix area have gone from a peak of 6,000 trees at it's peak in the 1950s to just over 100 today, according to some sources.