Angustifolia, leaves of the date palm (Phoenix sylvestris), of the dwarf palm (Chamaerops Ritchiana), of the Palmyra palm (Borassus flabelliformis), of the coco-nut palm (Cocos nucifera)andof the screw pine (Pandanus odoratissimus), the munja or munj grass (Saccharum Munja) and allied grasses, and the mat grasses Cyperus textilis and C. Pangorei, from the last of which the well-known Palghat mats of the Madras Presidency are made.
The date palm fruits well; figs grow luxuriantly, though requiring much irrigation; almonds do well if protected from spring frosts; seaisland cotton grows in the finest grades, but is not of commercial importance.
Wheat and the date palm seem to have been indigenous, and the latter is still one of the chief poductions of the country, but in later years rice has taken the place of wheat as the staff of life.
All kinds of trees grow well, from the date palm to the oak; and there are over 200,000 wild olives in the country.
The date palm is a beautiful tree, growing to a height of from 60 to 80 ft., and its stem, which is strongly marked with old leaf-scars, terminates in a crown of graceful shining pinnate leaves.
Among fruit trees the vine, apricot, peach, apple, quince, fig and banana are cultivated in the highlands, and in the lower country the date palm flourishes, particularly throughout the central zone of Arabia, in Hejaz, Nejd and El Hasa, where it is the prime article of food.
The present writer believes that the date palm was really indigenous to this district of the Jerid, as it is to countries of similar description in southern Morocco, southern Algeria, parts of the Tripolitaine, Egypt, Mesopotamia, southern Persia and north-western India; but that north of the latitude of the Jerid the date did not grow naturally in Mauretania, just as it was foreign to all parts of Europe, in which, as in true North Africa, its presence is due to the hand of man.