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Cretan Date Palm: Map

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The Cretan Date Palm (Phoenix theophrasti) is a small palm native to the eastern Mediterranean region, with a very restricted distribution confined to a few sites in Cretemarker in southern Greecemarker, and on the Datçamarker and Bodrummarker Peninsulas in Muğla Provincemarker in southwest Turkeymarker. Phoenix theophrasti make Europe's only palm forests, one in Vai, a beach in the prefecture of Lasithimarker in eastern Crete, the other at Prevelimarker-Beach near Plakiasmarker in the prefecture of Rethymnonmarker.

It grows to 15 m tall, usually with several slender stems. The leaves are pinnate, 2-3 m long, with numerous rigid greyish-green linear leaflets 15-50 cm long on each side of the central rachis. The fruit is an oval yellowish-brown drupe 1.5 cm long and 1 cm diameter and containing a single large seed; the fruit pulp is too thin and fibrous to be of agricultural significance and has an acrid taste though the fruits are sometimes eaten by the locals.

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