All parts of the date palm yield products of economic value.Its trunk furnishes timber; the midribs of the leaves supply material for crates and furniture; the leaflets, for basketry; the leaf bases, for fuel; the fruit stalks, for rope and fuel; the fibre, for cordage and packing material; and the seeds are sometimes ground and used as stock feed.
More than 1,000 dates may appear on a single bunch weighing 8 kg (18 pounds) or more.
The dried fruit is more than 50 percent sugar by weight and contains about 2 percent each of protein, fat, and mineral matter.
Syrup, alcohol, vinegar, and a strong liquor are derived from the fruit.
The sap is also used as a beverage, either fresh or fermented, but, because the method of extraction seriously injures the palm, only those trees that produce little fruit are used for sap.
I was also ordered to leave room for a miraculous souffle.
This fine formula was repeated at the Citron restaurant in the Viceroy Hotel, a place notable for its vibrant yellow walls and cool white furnishings.
The date palm has been cultivated and prized from remotest antiquity; its fruit has been the staple food and chief source of wealth in the irrigable deserts of North Africa and the Middle East.
Spanish missionaries carried the tree to the New World in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
And, as Gareth Huw Davies discovered, there's plenty for visitors to enjoy.
In 1935, a young engineer called Francis Crocker nurtured the crackpot idea of transporting visitors by tram from the floor of the Coachella Valley to the top of San Jacinto Mountains.
But thanks to guide Ken Huskey, a visit to the San Gorgonio Wind Park, on the edge of Palm Springs, was interesting.