Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Senegal Date Palm, African Wild Date Palm
Phoenix reclinata

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phoenix (FEE-niks) (Info)
Species: reclinata (rek-lin-AY-tuh) (Info)

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4 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Tropicals and Tender Perennials

over 40 ft. (12 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

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

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 29 photos.
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4 positives
No neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive ArchAngeL01 On Jun 20, 2009, ArchAngeL01 from Myrtle Beach, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is hardier than suggested, we have large 20 foot specimens here that have ben around for years, and it never gets burned in winter like the canaries do,but then again im borderline zone 9 zone 8b coastal

Negative NativePlantFan9 On Jan 9, 2005, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This palm is one of the most attractive palms I favor (and enjoy), but it is listed as a Category Two Invasive by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC) for central and southern Florida (zones 9a through 11) and the Keys. It is a suckering palm that forms dense, spiky thickets of tall fronds and some trunks, especially in moist to moderately dry sites. It has increasingly escaped from cultivation into natural areas and habitats in central and southern Florida and the Keys, forming dense, clustering, spiky thickets in favored conditions in natural areas, potentially crowding out surrounding native vegetation. In Florida, it has escaped and spread from cultivation into many habitats such as mangrove swamps, pinelands, wet or moist habitats, moderately moist habitats, moderately dry habitats (including xeric or prairie hammock sites or moist depressions or sloughs), moist or dry hammocks with moist depressions, wet or moderately dry pinelands or pine flatwoods, swampy sites or swamps, disturbed areas invaded by other exotic plants (seems to compete well with even Brazilian Pepper and Australian Pine) as well as many other similar habitats. It spreads by seed (dispersed by birds) and by suckering and division, often becoming invasive and forming dense, clustering, wild spiky thickets in natural habitats in central and southern Florida where it has naturalized. It is especially invasive in mangrove swamps, where it forms the largest thickets and groves, potentially altering the native ecosystem and crowding out surrounding vegetation. Iguanas and exotic wildlife also not native to Florida that have escaped into the wild often hide in the thickets of this plant. This palm widely cultivated and is popular in many tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. It also does well in arid regions. It's sad that this palm is invasive in central and southern Florida in natural areas because this is SUCH an attractive palm, even though it is introduced... in fact, it is one of my favorite palms. Guess I won't be planting this one.

MORE FACTS - This palm has gone wild and has naturalized in many habitats and natural areas in central and southern Florida and the Keys, becoming invasive and likely crowding out native vegetation. It is now listed as a Category Two Invasive by the FLEPPC (Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council). It is currently found in and naturalized in several counties in Florida, including Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe (the Keys), Collier, Lee, and Pinellas counties, according to the ISB Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. It thrives in zones 9a through 11 and is an excellent palm for landscaping, but should not be allowed to spread into natural areas in central and southern Florida and the Keys (zones 9a through 11)!

Positive Kylecawaza On Dec 23, 2004, Kylecawaza from Corte Madera, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have never seen a "true" phoenix reclinata in cultivation, or at least the same kind of phoenix species as in the habitat. In their habitat in northern South Africa, they tend to have very dark lightly fiberous stems around 5 to 6 inches in diameter and very dark green leaves, and never higher than 20 feet, and in the North, like in Malawi they tend to have stems up to a foot thick and lighter leaves and growing up to 40 feet tall.

Positive laspalmasdesign On Dec 2, 2004, laspalmasdesign from Los Altos, CA wrote:

This species of palm grows spectacularly fast if watered deeply and often. Coming from African flood plains, they tolerate soggy conditions. They can be quite drought tolerant as well but lots of water and feeding during the growing season makes 'em skyrocket. Wear heavy, long gloves when pruning! Their spiny petioles and pointy leaflets are sharp.

Positive palmbob On Jul 7, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This palm is one of the more highly sought after specimen palms used in landscaping throughout California, Texas, Arizona, Florida etc... it makes a very tropical looking clump of tall, feather-leaved palms that are somewhat reminiscent of a group of coconut palms (which, unfortunately, don't grow in most of those places). It is cold hardy down to about 22F, and colder temps can sometimes burn it to the ground, only to have suckers come back the following spring. Here in So Cal cold never touches this palm and it is very commonly planted. However large specimens cost up to 10s of thousands of dollars and require a crane and many assistants to move about. They are also spiny palms, each leaf base starting with viciously narrow, strong barbs, that turn into leaves farther from the base. It suckers so profusely that it is constant need of pruning or else you end up with a dense, impenitrable mass of leaves, trunks and spines. The dates, unfortunately, are not edible (to us... squirrels like them). Like all Phoenix palms, this one hybridizes readily, and many hybirds are growing all over California and Florida. The problem is actually to keep them from hybirdizing- there is no guarantee when you get one from a nursery it will be a non-hybrid.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Corte Madera, California
Encino, California
Fresno, California
Granite Bay, California
Huntington Beach, California
Los Altos, California
Los Angeles, California
Merced, California
Oceanside, California
Reseda, California
San Diego, California
San Marino, California
San Pedro, California
Temecula, California
Upland, California
Visalia, California
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Niceville, Florida
Palatka, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida
Chauvin, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Las Vegas, Nevada
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Alice, Texas

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