Canary Island Date Palm - Phoenix canariensis

The Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis) is quite similar to the True Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera) except that its trunk is thicker, its dates (fruit) are smaller and its top tends to be bushier (more fronds). While its dates are reputed to be edible their small size (not much there to eat) make this palm tree not commercially viable. It is however valued as an ornamental palm species for park, gardens and avenues.
Seeds can be purchased at
The fruits (dates) of the Canary Island Palm are about the size of olives or large grapes (just under an inch long or 2cm). The hang in clusters with individual dates lined up along multiple strings that comprise the cluster.
The leaves are long (12-20 inches) and quite pointy on the end. Towards the base of the frond the leaves are so short and spiky that they look a lot like thorns (bottom picture). Some Canary Island Palms can become very loaded with fruit as can be seen in the image below. All of these images were taken of palms in the southern Spain city of Malaga.


  1. I think all the date palms around here are Phoenix dactylifera. I don't have any in my garden, but there is a huge one that is planted right outside my property line. There are never dates--the maintenance folks come and cut off the forming dates long before any can fall.
    Another type of palm that is common is Washingtonia robusta. They line most of the medians in the area where I live.

  2. that is a great picture!
    i love palms so much!

  3. This is some great information. Great photos also. There is this other information site that talks about the canary Island date in depth.

    here is a link to more great information about the Canary Island Date Palms. Real palm trees are much better than artificial ones.

  4. Here in South Florida we have A LOT of Phoenix canariensis palms. Every year they bear lots of fruit and these look just like the above. However, most of the time they drop off the tree when yellow and dry out in the sun without ripening. Or they do ripen, but dry out before fully ripening.

    It's sad to see so much good food go to waste =(

    The dates from this tree are edible, but - as the article says - they are small and thus not commercially viable. A bit ironic, since the California dates I buy at the store tend to be about the same size.

    A Canary date is ripe when soft and deep brown in color. The dates must be picked when they are a deep red color, or at least when the red blush begins to be visible. In about a week they deep red dates are ripe enough to eat. The Canary dates are not as sweet or rich in flavor as a Medjool or a regular Phoenix dactylifera date, but they have a distinct crunchiness to them and are delicately sweet. They are dates in the food sense of the word, but most Americans have yet to know how good a Canary date can taste.

  5. I just cut down several branches w. orange/yellow fruits on them, and some Mexican neighbors came by to ask for the fruits. I didn't know you could eat them until I did some research on them. I tried to open them, but the thin flesh is kind of sticky, and the seed inside is so hard, I couldn't even hammer it to open. The seed is 95% of the fruit, so what is there to eat from the fruit?

  6. one of those leaves stabbed me in my hand this weekend, hurts like hell!