Boat Cruise
Boat Cruise
Sunset
Sunset
Self Drive in Kgalagadi Bush
Self Drive in Kgalagadi Bush
Dance performance at the Bahurutshe Cultural Village
Dance performance at the Bahurutshe Cultural Village
Impala Herd
Impala Herd

Wild Date Palm

Wild Date Palm
Setswana Name: 
Tsaro
Scientific Name: 
Phoenix reclinata
Family: 
Palm Family (Arecaceae)

Description

Only two species of palm tree occur in the Okavango Delta and in Moremi, i.e. the Wild date palm and the Real fan palm. They are very easy to distinguish, since the Fan palm has fan-shaped leaves and the Wild date palm has feather-shaped leaves. This evergreen palm does not grow much more than 6m in height and often occurs in dense stands, with one or more curving stems rising above the rest.

Bark

Dark brown to dark grey. Rough leaf scars

Leaves

3-4m long. Feather-like with up to 50 leaflets a side. Basal leaflets are spiny and the others are dark green, smooth and gloosy.

Flowers

Inflorescence borne in axils of young leaves near the apex of the stem. Male and female are on separate plants. Male florets are caduceus and pale dirty-yellow. Female florets are small, globose and yellow-green.

Fruits

They are small (2,3x1,4cm) and borne in large, pendant clusters. Fruit pulp is fairly fleshy, yellow when young and brown at maturity with one seed inside.

Flowering

September to November

Fruiting

February onwards

Distribution

This species thrives only where a permanent high water-table exists as is the case in the swamp, which accounts for its absence in the dry land areas. Together with papyrus, this palm tree dominates the Okavango Delta swamps. The Wild date palm, being water-dependant, is often an indication of an earlier permanent water flow in a particular area, even if there is no water visible at the time.