Palm Tree Fruit

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Palm tree fruit grows on palms because it's needed. Why is palm fruit needed by palms? Fruits have seeds, seeds produce more palm trees. Without fruit, the palm tree couldn't have a way to have "children" - so to speak!

You do know some palm tree fruits. Coconuts are fruit. And they grow on palms, of course. Also think of dates. Not the couples going out on the town type!

But those chunky, gooey, wrinkly, brownish/purplish oblong little fruits. Have you ever tried them? We like them well enough! There's even a little town in Arizona dedicated to growing date palms.

We've stopped in there a time or two.

Dateland Palms along a StreetLots of Date Palms in an Arizona Town Dedicated to Growing Them

These two types of palm tree fruit varieties are probably the most well-known. There are many more among more than 2400 species of palms that grow around the world.

Yes, all those Palms Grow Fruit, eventually. Some are edible, but most are not. At least for people.

Palm Tree Fruit Beginnings

To have fruit, there's first the plant version of a "Sexual" Relationship between palm flowers!

Palm trees aren't known for showy flowers. In fact, seeing a flowering palm tree, you might not notice its blooms at all! They may hide behind drooping fronds.

FLOWERS?

Plus they're small & understated looking. You'd wonder - those things hanging there, are they flowers??

They grow on something called the inflorescence. That's just the branching out that contain the flowers. Even though the flowers are small, the inflorescence won't be missed.

But the flowers do produce a seed-bearing fruit, because, after all that's their purpose.

Viewing a fruited palm, however, you wouldn't help but notice its fruits. They're the part with the showy display. Its bunching branches are called the infructescence.

Palm Fruit on a Palm Tree

PARTS OF THE PALM TREE FRUIT

Most of them are drupes...

What are Drupes?

Drupes are the fleshy fruit inside the seed/s. They have an outer protective layer that doesn't split open easily when the palm tree fruit is ripe.

A few palms have fruits that are berries instead. Their innermost area is quite thin.

Three Main Sections of Palm Fruit

Palm tree fruits have three sections. Fruits can be huge or tiny.

  • Their outer covering, the epicarp, is thin. Outer layers vary from sleek to prickly rough, either hard or soft.
  • The middle fleshy thick area is called the mesocarp. It can also have a fibrous texture. This middle can be substantial or very thin.
  • The innermost hard segment is the endocarp.
  1. The fruit's tiny embryo (important palm tree starter) is embedded in a small chamber within the endocarp area.
Diagram of a drupe type of fruitDiagram of the parts of a Drupe

Can You Eat Palm Tree Fruit?

Some palms have edible fruit that's very useful. For eating as is, making into jams or jellies, or incorporating into other tasty dishes.

Other palm tree fruit can be edible in certain circumstances. Say, if there are limited available food stores in an area. Or food products are difficult to access, because of war, etc. Some people like to experiment, being creative for their usefulness. They may be turned into secondary foods.

Animals Preference...

Otherwise, many palm tree fruits have no human food usage. But they're tasty to animals. So they can be added to livestock feedings.

Even many more are just plain inedible. Except for maybe some birds and other wild animals.

2 Birds are Eating Palm Tree FruitBirds Like Many Palm Tree Fruits Just Fine!

Most Commonly Used Fruits From Palm Trees

COCONUT PALM

Coconuts are the most iconic palm tree fruit. This fruit is used in delish dishes & drinks. What about the Uses for Coconut Milk! How about the favored drink of many: piña coladas.

The well known Cocos nucifera loves life around tropical coastal areas. Probably originated on South Pacific islands. And of course, loved for the wonderfully popular fruit it provides.

  • Healthful Benefits: Good source of healthy fats & electrolytes.
  1. So this palm tree fruit is popular with athletes & those aware of health-positive foods.
Poster shows coconuts from palm tree

COCONUT PLANTING FOR USAGE

The coconut palm is widely cultivated for all its uses. Said to be the most prominent palm for economies around the world. 

  • The coconut fruit doesn't take long to arrive on newly planted trees, growing in clusters. 
  • About 12 inches in diameter, when ready for plucking. 
  • When ripe, the color could be green, yellow or brown.

The Coconut Palm Tree Fruit is known for that hard outer shell. Yet new Coconut Palms pretty easily grow out from it.

several coconuts with two beginning to sprout new coconut palmsCoconuts That Have Begun Sprouting New Palms

IF NOT PLANTING A COCONUT PALM...

  • Cracking it open shows you the white, fleshy meat inside.
  • And that refreshing coconut water.

Date Palm Tree Fruit

DATE PALM

Particularly referred to as the Edible Date Palm. Native to Northern Africa & the Middle East, where they're still grown. Phoenix dactylifera is most well known for its date palm fruits.

  • Typically brownish orange. Cylindrical, about 3 inches long.

Definitely prefers desert oases, or alongside rivers.

  • It's drought tolerant, but does need a nearby groundwater source. 
  • In rainier climes, fungus may attack.

Commercial Value

Cultivated in many dry climates for over 5000 years because of the valued palm fruit. That includes California & Arizona in the US. Many varieties have been developed for commercial use.

Date palm tree fruit may be the most well-known & widely eaten fruit from palm trees. They're delicious: sweet & chewy. The caramel-like flavor is useful in desserts. They're also valued as a natural sweetener.

  • Date fruit is nutritionally wholesome. 
  • They're a good source of fiber, potassium & other nutrients.

ACTION FOR FRUITING

The basics to knowing palm tree fruit is noting inflorescence action. It's where the fruits are created after fertilization by bees or other insects.

Whether in a Dioecious or Monoecious Palm. The infructescence holds the fruit until it ripens & is eaten, or falls from the palm.

Pygmy Date Palm Flowers BloomingPygmy Date Palm Flowers are Blooming
Palm fruits on an infructescencePalm Fruits On an Infructescence

Takeaways for Palm Tree Fruit

There are many types of palm tree fruit. In fact, every palm produces fruit for continued life of the species. By putting out flowers, many of which will be pollinated. That will get fruit growing.

Some fruits are edible by humans. Many more are useful for animals.

What types of palm tree fruits have you had the opportunity to try? Anything you really enjoyed. Or said "yuck!" Let us know, show us on our Facebook Page.

More Palmy areas to consider...