The Palm

The Palm Tree of Elche

Jardín Artístico Nacional

In the Municipal District of Elche there is the greatest concentration of palm trees in all of Europe: according to estimations, there are between 200,000 and 300,000 specimens.

It is fairly unanimous that the origin of this palm tree is Phoenician, which brings us to the conclusion that the existence of the date palm tree dates back about 2,000/5,000 years.

Also, the division and sorting of land, irrigation and cultivation of the palm tree, dates back to the times of Arabic reign.

The agricultural city that once was Elche in the previous centuries to its current industrial activity included the cultivation of dates and palm trees along with horticultural products for local consumption.

There are palm trees scattered all over the landscape. The peculiarity and beauty of the palm tree landscape in Elche was made into a one of a kind natural park in the European continent, which made it a deserved winner in November 2000 of the distinction of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The tree of life

Authentic princes of the Vegetable Kingdom (so called by Linnaeus), the family of the palm trees (Arecaceae) is made up of 2,800 different species that are spread over the whole tropical and subtropical area of our planet.

The palm tree is one of man’s most practical plants providing: dates, coconuts, flour, oil, honey or alcohol and wine, the domestic use of the plant tissue of the palm tree…

The date palm (Phoenix Dactylifera) is one of man’s oldest domesticated plants. Egyptian carvings over 5,500 years old show that at that time the harvesting of the date had already begun.

The biological structures of palm trees are conserved in such a simple way that they are lacking in such common elements in a vegetable like flowers with its petals or a real tree trunk with branches. Its trunk or “stipe” is not like this, it is a false trunk that is formed by a group of remains of bases of old leaves or “Fronds,” that intertwine forming a structure in the shape of a column. This false trunk can only grow in height and not in width.

The sap of the palm trees does not circulate the circumference of the tree trunk but rather its central area or medulla. This peculiarity makes them fire resistant. They are able to sprout new shoots from their ashes, from which is probably the origin of their generic name “Phoenix.” This trunk is crowned by a crest of leaves that grow in a spiral in the form of a crown or a head made up of up to 40 leaves more than 3 metres in length. The palm tree suggests its approximate age by the height that its stipe reaches (it takes more or less 10 years to develop every metre of tree trunk).

Palm trees do not possess a main root but they do have some small rootlets that grow like human hair from a bulb at the base of the tree trunk.

There are both male and female palm trees. Only the female palm trees produce dates, while the male trees are in charge of the pollination of the female trees with the use of the wind, in a manual way (process known in Elche as “entaconado”).

The date, fruit of this palm tree, is a berry, cylindrical in shape or egg-shaped with a very thin skin weighing about 7 grammes of which 2 grammes are the bone. It has a high level of sugars (almost 70%) and a high nutritional as well as energetic value (30 calories per date). An old Arabic aphorism says that a good Tuareg warrior is able to live 3 days in the dessert with just one date in his pouch. The first day he will eat its meat, the second day its skin and the third day he will eat its grinded bone.

Jardín Artístico Nacional

Agencies / Press

Situated right in the old quarters of Elche is the Huerto del Cura, the crucible where the love of the work of the Levantine orchard melts with that spark of genius which, due to its beauty, has all the inhabitants of this land. In Elche, orchard is the name given to a plot of land, whether big or small, with palm trees. Every orchard usually has a name referring to the owners or to any historical anecdote. The Huerto del Cura owes its name to Chaplain José Castaño Sánchez, who was a priest and the owner until 1918.

The Huerto del Cura is modestly sized: it is barely 13,000 square metres with around 1,000 palm trees. You could consider the orchard densely populated by date palm trees, indisputable stars of the land along with typical products of the area. As well as palm trees, there are other types of typical plant life of the Spanish Mediterranean region that grows here like lemon trees, orange trees, pomegranate trees, carob trees and jujube trees, along with other subtropical plant life which, over time, has grown to make a beautiful collection of plants from the most unique places.

In this section we offer the possibility to download the logos of the Huerto del Cura Group and the National Artistic Garden in RGB and CMYK format in high resolution, photographs picturing the restaurant in high resolution and the flyers and hotel documents in PDF format. We hope that this, in some way, may aid you in your work.

Thank you.