RIVERBED DATE PALM (Phoenix iberica)


The endemic palm of the Iberian Peninsula

The riverbed date palm grows in the Chícamo River Nature Reserve, in Abanilla (Murcia). Only endemic palm of the Iberian Peninsula, it was described in 1997 by botanists from the University of Murcia. Whether it is a variety evolved in the wild from date palms brought by the Phoenicians to the Spanish Levant, or a species existing prior to the domestication of the date palm and a vicariant of other date palms of the north Atlantic and Middle East, genetic studies leave no doubt as to its authenticity (read more in our blog).

Habitat: It forms oases in the riverbed of the Chícamo river.

Distribution: Desert of Abanilla, Almería, and populations in Elche.

Description: Normally single-stemmed, sometimes multi-stemmed, dioecious palm tree, up to 12 meters tall, with a stylized trunk with marked scars, pinnate bluish-green leaves 2-3 meters long, orange inflorescence and small orange-to-red dates.

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