Figs have numerous health benefits, including the ability to help prevent diabetes. They also contain potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. Figs are a good source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and can help prevent some digestive cancers. Fig leaves have also been shown to lower levels of triglycerides in animal studies.
The date palm tree is considered the "Tree of Life" to the Middle Eastern people and is a holy symbol to the Muslim people. Palm trees are also mentioned throughout the Bible and Palm fronds from the tree are also a symbol of Palm Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem. The tree has many uses besides its dates. The wood is used for fuel and to build shelters. The fronds are woven into mats used to make floors and ceilings and for carrying utensils. Palm trees are frequently used as ornamental plants throughout the southwest of the United States.
Palm trees have skinny, long trunks with many huge leaves, called fronds, on top of the tree. Mature trees reach up to a hundred feet tall. The palms are dioecious, meaning male and female parts of the flower grow on separate trees up by the fronds. The pollen from the male flower needs to be mixed with the female flower for proper pollination. After pollination hundreds of dates develop in large clusters high in the trees.
Date palms grow best in regions with high temperatures, low humidity, and lots of water. This makes them somewhat expensive to grow commercially because they require extensive irrigation. Date palms are commercially grown in orchards called "oases." Growers generally keep a 30 female to 1 male ratio for the best date production. Flower buds form in the spring and open for a short time in the early summer. During this time the female flowers are hand-pollinated with the pollen from the male flowers.