DATE CULTIVARS

 chopped dates

chopped dates

A large number of date cultivars do exist but their exact number is not known. Hussain and El-Zeid (1975) have reported the existence of 400 cultivars, but Nixon (Nixon, 1954) has indicated the probability of only about 250 named varieties. But, of all these cultivars, only a few dozen have attained economic and commercial importance.

Of the four imported cultivars grown commercially in the United States, three fourths of the cultivated area is under Deglet Noor cultivation and 10% under the remaining three cultivars, Zahidi, Khadrawy, and Halawy. Knight (1980) has reviewed extensively the most important cultivars that are being grown commercially all over theworld.

The cultivar Deglet Noor (which literally means the date of the light or translucent seedling) is popular because of its large size, light color, delicate flavor, and outstanding shelf life during storage. This cultivar is also known for prolific bearing, and ripens in October–November.

Like most other date cultivars, it also requires high temperature and low humidity for proper ripening. Another high-yielding Yahidi cultivar is being commercially grown in Iraq.

This cultivar is hardy and drought resistant, and exhibits vigorous growth. Hallawi (which means sweet) cultivar bears a light-colored fruit and is one of the leading cultivars grown in Iraq and exported from Basra.

Another cultivar Sayer (meaning widespread), which is not only known for its very sweet fruit but is also a hardy plant capable of tolerating adverse climatic conditions. It has shown the highest production and is quite important in commercial trade.

Medjool is an important commercial cultivar from Morocco known for its sweetness. Asif et al. (1986) have described the characteristics of 15 commercially important cultivars, i.e., Burhi, Gur, Hilali, Khalas, Khasab, Majnaz, Ruzeiz, Sahal, Shashi, Tanjeeb, Tayyar, Um Rahim, and Zamil that are being grown in the Hassa area of Saudi Arabia. Some of the cultivars like Khudari, Nabbut-Al-Seif, Sullaj, Sukai, Maktumi, Sultana, Shagra, Nabtat Ali, Shbibi, Barni, Rabiaa, Safawi, Shalabi, and Sifri are the major cultivars of commercial importance in Saudi Arabia (Anon, 1984). Some of the other important cultivars being grown commercially are Zaghloul, Duwiki, and Hayani in Egypt; Kabkabe and Khustawai in Iran and Barhee, Maktoom, Shalabi, Sukkari, and Khustawai in Iraq (Sawaya, 1986; El-Kassas, 1986; Popenoe, 1973).