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Fruit of date palm, Phoenix dactylifera, known as far back as 3000 bc. There are three types: ‘soft’ (about 80% of the dry matter is invert sugars (see sugar, invert); semi-dry (about 40% of the dry matter is invert sugars and 40% sucrose); and dry (20–40% of the dry matter is invert sugars and 40–60% is sucrose). A 100‐g portion of fresh dates (five weighed with stones) is a good source of vitamin C and supplies 230 kcal (960 kJ); 100 g of dried dates (three weighed with stones) provides 3 g of dietary fibre and supplies 270 kcal (1 130 kJ).

Originally from Morocco, the medjool variety was reserved for royalty and dignitaries. In the 1920s, disease threatened the palms in Morocco, and immature trees were given to the USA, where they are now grown commercially.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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