Propagating the Doum palm

Introducing Omri, our latest horticultural intern. His first task was a tough one, as he explains!

“I’ve just started the internship and am already preparing to sow a special and interesting plant- Hyphaene thebaica, the Doum palm.

The Doum palm; Photo: Omri Bachrach

The Doum palm is a rare palm in Israel – it only grows in the very southern desert in a few places. This is the northern edge of its worldwide distribution, which spans from Africa to the Arabian peninsula.

It also has many traditional uses – its broad leaves are used to weave baskets, its timber is used for fibers and wood, and the ripe fruits are edible.

The main challenge of sowing the seeds was getting to them, as the fruit is full of very tough fibers.

It took me a few hours to cut and smash open the fruits.

Now they are soaking in water for three days and I will sow them tomorrow.”