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date, name for a palm (Phoenix dactylifera) and for its edible fruit. Probably native to Arabia and North Africa, it has from earliest times been a principal food in many desert and tropical regions. For some 4,000 years it has been grown near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It is cultivated in many other warm regions, including parts of the SW United States and Mexico.

The trees sometimes reach a height of 100 ft (30.5 m) and yield fruit for generations. Staminate (male) and pistillate (female) flowers are borne on separate trees, and pollination of those grown commercially is usually done by hand. Seedless dates may be produced without pollination but they are inferior. Heavy, pendant clusters of the sweet, nutritious fruits are produced; the yield after maturity (10 to 15 years) is usually from 100 to 200 lb (45–90 kg) or more per tree annually. Each fruit is 1 to 3 in. (2.54–7.6 cm) long, reddish brown or yellowish brown, and somewhat cylindrical or oblong. When ripe, the bunches of fruit are cut intact from the palm and matured in a warm place.

In the Old World, a sugar and a fermented drink are made from the sap of the date palm and other species of Phoenix, and the seeds are sometimes roasted and used as a coffee substitute or pressed for oil, leaving a residue useful for stock feed. The wood of the trunk is often used in construction and the leaves are used for weaving mats and baskets.

Dates are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Arecales, family Palmae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the fruit of the date palm. Dates are eaten fresh or dried and are used to make various dishes. They are a major food in the Arabic countries, where no fewer than 100 dishes are made from them. They contain 62–71 percent sugar, 1–2.5 percent protein, and 2.5 percent fat. Depending on the variety of date palm, the fruits dry out slightly or remain soft.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(convention, data)
A string unique to a time duration of 24 hours between 2 successive midnights defined by the local time zone. The specific representation of a date will depend on which calendar convention is in force; e.g., Gregorian, Islamic, Japanese, Chinese, Hebrew etc. as well as local ordering conventions such as UK: day/month/year, US: month/day/year.

Inputting and outputting dates on computers is greatly complicated by these localisation issues which is why they tend to operate on dates internally in some unified form such as seconds past midnight at the start of the first of January 1970.

Many software and hardware representations of dates allow only two digits for the year, leading to the year 2000 problem.

Unix manual page: date(1), ctime(3).
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (
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