Dates are the fruit of the Phoenix dactylifera (date palm) which can grow to 20-25 metres high.
Dates have been cultivated for thousands of years – a staple of the Middle East and the Indus Valley (now Pakistan). They are believed to have originated in Iraq as early as 4000 BCE, although archaeological evidence shows date cultivation in eastern Arabia in 6000 BCE. The Ancient Egyptians ate the fruit and made date wine. There is also evidence of date cultivation in Mehrgarh a Neolithic civilization in western Pakistan, around 7000 BCE.
The fruit’s English name comes from the Greek word for “finger,” dáktulos, because of the fruit’s elongated shape