DATE PALM (PHOENIX DACTYLIFERA) DISPERSAL TO THE AMERICAS: HISTORICAL EVIDENCE OF THE SPANISH INTRODUCTION
Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) groves are found in the Americas from the south-west USA (36°N lat.) to Chile (21°S lat.) and eastward to the Caribbean Islands; from Venezuela, 63°W long. to 117°W long. (USA) and at elevations from 0-2,000 m. However, successful production of ripe dates is possible only in arid regions of Peru, Chile, Baja California, and south-west USA. At present, the major extant date palm groves of Spanish origin are in Baja California, Mexico and Peru. A study of the origin of the date palms has revealed abundant historical documentation permitting a historical picture of the Spanish introductions to the Americas and the origin of the plant material involved. Dates arrived in the Americas very soon after initial European contact (1492), and in the early 16th century there were date palms in the Caribbean Islands and on the mainland, as evidenced by the chroniclers of the Indies. Date palm plantings were from seeds carried from Spain and North Africa. By about the late 16th century, date palms reached coastal Peru. Date palms were recorded in present-day Baja California, Mexico and California USA from the mid-18th century. Cultivation has continued in Baja California in oases near former Spanish religious missions. Beginning in the late 19th century, date palm offshoots were imported from North Africa and the Middle East and today form the basis of the USA date industry.
Johnson, D.V., Rivera, D., Alcaraz, F., Carreño, E., Delgadillo , J., Carrillo, M.H., Obón, C., Krueger, R. and Ríos, S. (2013). DATE PALM (PHOENIX DACTYLIFERA) DISPERSAL TO THE AMERICAS: HISTORICAL EVIDENCE OF THE SPANISH INTRODUCTION. Acta Hortic. 994, 99-104
Caribbean, Mexico, North Africa, Peru, Phoenix canariensis, USA