Genus:
Phoenix L.

Phoenix sylvestris (L.) Roxb.

This species is accepted, and its native range is Indian Subcontinent to W. Myanmar.

[PW]
General Description
Solitary tree palm. Stem to 10 - 15 (20) m tall, without leaf sheaths c. 20 - 30 cm diam., with persistent, diamond-shaped leaf bases; stem base with mass of roots. Crown hemispherical, with more than 50 leaves. Leaves c. 1.5 x 4 m long; leaf sheath reddish-brown, fibrous; pseudopetiole 40 - 50 cm long x 3 - 5 cm wide at base; acanthophylls closely inserted, arranged in several planes, c. 13 - 18 on each side of rachis, conduplicate, yellow-green, very sharp, 4 - 14 cm long; leaflets irregularly fascicled, arranged in several planes, c. 80 - 90 on each side of rachis, concolorous, greyish-green, often waxy, very sharp, 18 - 35 x 1.2 - 2.4 cm. Staminate inflorescences to 25 per plant, erect, not extending far beyond prophyll; prophyll coriaceous, bright orange internally when young, splitting first adaxially (side adjacent to trunk), 25 - 40 x 6 - 15 cm; peduncle 20 - 30 x 1.2 - 2.2 cm; rachis 13 - 18 cm long with numerous, congestedly arranged rachillae, each 4 - 16 cm long. Staminate flowers white-yellow, musty-scented; calyx a deep cupule to 2 - 2.5 mm high with 3 poorly defined lobes; petals 3 (rarely 4), apices obtuse, slightly hooded, 6 - 10 x c. 3 mm; anthers 3 - 4 mm long. Pistillate inflorescences erect, arching on fruit maturation; peduncle green and upright, becoming golden-orange and arching on fruit maturation, to c. 90 x 2 cm; prophyll papery, short, splitting twice between margins, c. 24 x 5 cm; rachillae arranged in irregular horizontal whorls, c. 50 - 60 in number, yellow-green in colour, c. 8 - 34 cm long. Pistillate flowers creamy-white, c. 40 - 50 mostly restricted to distal half of rachilla; calyx cupule 1.5 - 2.5 mm high; petals 3 - 4 x 4 - 5 mm. Fruit obovoid, 15 - 25 x 12 mm, ripening from green to orange-yellow, with mesocarp moderately fleshy and astringent. Seed obovoid with rounded apices, 15 - 20 x 7 - 10 mm; embryo lateral opposite raphe; endosperm homogeneous.
Vernacular
INDIA. Ita chettu (Telinga), [Beccari (1890)]; khurjjuri, kharjura, madhukshir (Sanscrit), khujjoor, kajar, kejur (Bengali), khaji, sendhu, kejur, khajur, khaji, salma, thalma, thakil (Hindi), ichal, kullu, ichalu mara (Kanara), khejuri (Uriya), itchumpannay, periaitcham, itcham-nar, itham pannay (Tamil), ita, pedda-ita, itanara, ishan-chedi (Telinga), [Blatter (1926)]; eechamaram, periya eecham (Tamil), [Matthew (1983)]; kubong, rotong (Lepchas), [Noltie (1994)]. PAKISTAN. Khaji, khajoor, [Malik (1984)]; taree- khajoor, [Aitchison (1869)].
Distribution
Phoenix sylvestris is common, wild or cultivated, in the plains of India and Pakistan.
Conservation
Not threatened.
Biology
Phoenix sylvestris thrives from the plains to the coast in low-lying wastelands, scrub forest and areas that have been disturbed or are prone to periodic or seasonal inundation with water, causing water-logging. In its native habitat P. sylvestris flowers at the beginning of the hot season from January to April, and fruits ripen from October to December.

[PW]
Use
In parts of India, particularly West Bengal, sweet sap is tapped from the stem of P. sylvestris and drunk fresh or processed into a dark sugar (gur or jaggery) or alcoholic toddy (Davis 1972). The astringent fruits are rarely eaten fresh but are processed as jellies and jams. Blatter (1926) noted the fruits to comprise one constituent of a natural restorative, and the seeds when ground up with the root of Achyranthes aspera L. (Amaranthaceae) and chewed with betel leaves (Areca catechu L., Palmae) are considered a remedy for 'ague'.

Native to:

Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, West Himalaya

Introduced into:

China Southeast, Leeward Is., Mauritius, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka

English
Silver Date Palm, Sugar Date Palm

Phoenix sylvestris (L.) Roxb. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
s.coll. [Cat. no. 8602] K001125942 Yes
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 8602], India K001125944 Yes
Gomez, W. [Cat. no. 8602], India K001125943 Yes

First published in Fl. Ind. ed. 1832, 3: 787 (1832)

Accepted by

  • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
  • Balkrishna, A. (2018). Flora of Morni Hills (Research & Possibilities): 1-581. Divya Yoga Mandir Trust.
  • Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Henderson, A. (2009). Palms of Southern Asia: 1-197. Princeton university press, Princeton and Oxford.
  • Meyer, J.-Y., Lavergne, C. & Hodel, D.R. (2008). Time bombs in gardens: invasive ornamental palms in tropical islands, with emphasis on French Polynesia (Pacific Ocean) and the Mascarenes (Indian Ocean) Palms; Journal of the International Palm Society 52: 23-35.
  • Pandey, R.P. & Dilwakar, P.G. (2008). An integrated check-list flora of Andaman and Nicobar islands, India Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 32: 403-500.
  • Sarder, N.U. & Hassan, M.A. (eds.) (2018). Vascular flora of Chittagong and the Chittagong Hill Tracts 1: 1-897. Bangladesh National Herbarium, Dhaka.
  • Sarmah, K.K. & Borthakur, S.K. (2009). A checklist of angiospermic plants of Manas national park in Assam, India Pleione 3: 190-200.
  • Shaheen, H., Qureshi, R., Akram, A., Gulfraz, M. & Potter, D. (2014). A preliminary floristic checklist of Thal desert Punjab, Pakistan Pakistan Journal of Botany 46: 13-18.

Literature

Palmweb - Palms of the World Online

  • S.C. Barrow, A Monograph of Phoenix L. (Palmae: Coryphoideae). 1998

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
  • Henderson, A. (2009). Palms of Southern Asia: 1-197. Princeton university press, Princeton and Oxford.
  • Meyer, J.-Y., Lavergne, C. & Hodel, D.R. (2008). Time bombs in gardens: invasive ornamental palms in tropical islands, with emphasis on French Polynesia (Pacific Ocean) and the Mascarenes (Indian Ocean) Palms; Journal of the International Palm Society 52: 23-35.
  • Pandey, R.P. & Dilwakar, P.G. (2008). An integrated check-list flora of Andaman and Nicobar islands, India Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 32: 403-500.

  • Art and Illustrations in Digifolia

    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

  • Kew Living Collection Database

    Common Names from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Living Collection https://www.kew.org/

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

  • Kew Science Photographs

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  • Palmweb - Palms of the World Online

    Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet http://www.palmweb.org. Accessed on 21/04/2013
    Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0