Dom-palm fruit - ROM2018_16363_60


Dom-palm fruit

Geography: Egypt
7.6 x 8.2 cm
Object number: 909.80.619
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

This large brown seed is from the Dom-palm tree, Hyphaene thebaica.  The tree from which it grows is a tall, graceful palm tree with many trunks growing together and many branches. The leaves are used for basketry, mats, brooms, ropes, string and thatch. The woody trunks are used for posts and poles, furniture and beehives, and the refuse makes fine fuel.   Female dom-palm trees produce large numbers of seeds which stay on the tree for a long time, but can be shaken down for harvest. 

The brown husk can be cooked and eaten in many ways, even chewed raw as a snack.  It has a pleasant, spicy flavour that has notes of molasses and cinnamon.  While unripe, the large seed can be eaten.  Sprouts from the seed can also be eaten as a vegetable.

The Ancient Egyptians, like their modern descendants, valued the dom-palms trees for their shade and useful products.  Eight baskets full of the large brown seeds were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun. 

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