Can anyone identify this plant which is growing in a friend's garden in the Uzumlu area of Turkey. It has very large spikes/thorns. I'm told it doesn't have flowers or seeds so we are wondering how it propagates itself.

enter image description here


1 Answer 1


This is a palm (family Arecaceae). Many palms have spines; I'm no expert but it looks to me like it is a member of the Phoenix genus, perhaps a Cretan date palm (Phoenix theophrasti). Date palms do propagate themselves by seed (the pit of the date fruit). The palm in your picture, if a date palm, would be rather young, which could explain why it does not presently show flowers or fruits. Here is a photo of the spines and flowers of a Cretan date palm (by Wouter Hagens, from Wikimedia Commons):

Cretan date palm flowers

  • $\begingroup$ It is very unlikely that this is Phoenix theophrasti, which has a very limited range. See, for example, the wikipedia link you posted: "with a very restricted distribution", giving quite specific info on where in Turkey the plant can be found. $\endgroup$
    – aae
    Feb 11, 2020 at 9:24
  • $\begingroup$ @GeorgeWilliamRussel'spen, it may well be a different palm, but the natural range of P. theophrasti (or of other species) probably isn't all that relevant, as the OP's image suggests the palm was purposely planted as part of landscaping. $\endgroup$
    – mgkrebbs
    Feb 11, 2020 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ It's listed as NT by the IUCN, and as stated has a very limited range. It is very unlikely that P. theophrastii is planted as a part of landscaping or gardening. You would have to know about it in the first place, and then obtain a speciment. It's not a common plant, and to the best of my knowledge rarely planted. P. dactylifera and P. canariensis are much more likely. And we can't tell from the picture. $\endgroup$
    – aae
    Feb 14, 2020 at 13:45

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