date palms growing in Dongola
Known in Latin as pheonix dactylifera, the date palm is actually a type of grass and grows along the banks of the Nile in North Sudan.
It gained prominence in the Koran as providing both shade and sustenance to Mary as she gave birth to Jesus. Indeed the prophet Mohammed declared “I entrust to thy care and attention your aunt, the date palm”.
It is also integral to the Nubian economy. Not only does it provide the delicious fruit (harvested September to November), the fibres are used for rope, the fronds woven into baskets and the trunks into roofing beams. A well tended palm can produce fruit for over 100 years.