Phoenix Sylvestris

Common Name: Silver Date Palm


Scientific Name: Phoenix Sylvestris

Zone: 8B-11

Growth Rate: Slow

Origin: India

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Typical Height: 40′ OA


Mature specimens may have trunks of 50 feet with a canopy spread of 25′ plus. This Phoenix species is highly variable with many “types” maturing at considerable smaller sizes.

Soil Requirements

Tolerant of a wide range of soils (adapts well to the calcareous soils of the Florida Keys and Caribbean Islands).

Water Requirements

Does best with even moisture, but will tolerate occasional flooding, as well as periods of drought when fully established.

Habit of Growth

Full sun is recommended. Hardy to at least Zone 9. Single upright trunk with full canopy.

This species is from southern Pakistan and India. It resembles a Phoenix canariensis but the trunk is not as thick. It carries many leaves and the overall crown shape is somewhat smaller and more “rounded” than the Phoenix canariensis. It is known as the “Silver Date Palm”, the “Toddy Palm”, and the “Wild Date Palm”. The trunk does get to about 40 to 50 feet and often will show old retained leaf bases giving it a patterned appearance of the trunk. Different from the Canary Island Palm, this species has multiple ranks of leaflets on the leaves (not flat in profile) and may appear somewhat “fluffy”.

For some people, Phoenix sylvestris may seem to be an alternative to the Canary Island Palm. But, it is not as cold hardy as the Canary. It also has a different color to the leaves and a thinner trunk. I’d estimate this species will tolerate temperatures into the low 20’s F, perhaps upper teens. It does tolerate hot conditions and is a good grower. Like other species, it is extremely spiny and care must be used when pruning this species.

Landscape Uses

Phoenix Sylvestris are an excellent choice for avenue planting or as an accent tree. In formal settings, most specifiers want matched sized trees or groups of trees. Less formal applications look best with staggered sizes creating a grove or broad canopy setting. Multiple trunk trees create a spectacular specimen.

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