Palm-Tree, or Date-tree, Phaemix dacty/ifera, L. a native of syria, Palestine, Egypt, and other hot climates, where it grows to the height of 100, and even 150 feet.— As it will net flourish in this coun-try, we shall confine our account to the properties of its fruit.
Dates resemble in form the largest acorns, but are covered with a thin, semi.-transparent, yellowish membrane ; containing a fine soft sac-charine pulp, of a somewhat vinous our and within which is in-closed an oblong, hard kernel. They afford, when fresh, a very wholesome nourishment, and possess an agreeable taste. The best are obtained from Tunis, in a half-dried state, and pay, on importation, the sum of 21. 10s. 10 1/2d. per cwt. If chosen for medicinal pur-poses, dates should be large, full, fresh, and yellow on the surface ; being soft, tender, and not too much wrinkled ; have the full fla-vour; and, when shaken, they ought Hot to rattle. Formerly this fruit was often used in pectoral decoctions ; and, beside its demulcent: properties, was supposed to possess, a slight degree of astringency.
There is an oil prepared from the-fruitof this tree, known under the name of palm-oil; which is im-ported from the West Indies, whither the tree has been transplanted from Africa. It is of an orange-colour, and of the consistence of ointment; emitting a strong agreeable odour, but haying very little taste: both of which it entirely loses by long keeping; when it becomes unfit for use.-On the Coast of Guinea, this oil is said to be used by the inhabitants as a substitute for butter. In Britain, however, it is chiefly employed externally, for mitigating pains, cramps, and similar affections : it is likewise used for the cure of chilblains ; and, if early applied, has Often proved successful.