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a genus of plants of the family Palmae. The trunk is branched as a rule and grows 12-15 m tall. The leaves are fan-shaped and bunched at the end of the branches. The plants are dioecious, with panicled inflorescences up to 1.2 m long. The fruit is a drupe. There are approximately 30 species distributed from tropical Africa to India. The best known is the doom palm, Hyphaene thebaica, which grows in north-eastern Africa, mainly in sandy soils of river valleys. The flesh of the fruit is edible, and the hard seeds are used to make various articles (they are similar to ivory). The wood is heavy and durable. Greenhouses of botanical gardens sometimes grow another species of doom palm, the southern African palm H. crinita, which grows to a height of 6 m.