East, salting and fermentation technologies were developed as a means of whole fruit storage. A few tropical fruits (e.g., plantain and breadfruit) are staple starch crops and require cooking. III. ORIGIN, DOMESTICATION, AND EARLY CULTURE OF FRUIT CROPS The origin and changes associated with domestication of fruits in this review are summarized in Table 2. A. Mediterranean Fruits 1. Date Palm. The date palm ( Phoenix dactilifera, Arecaceae) is a dioecious palm, thought to be indigenous from Northern Africa through the Arabian peninsula to northern India (Goor and Nurock 1968; Zohary and Spiegel-Roy, 1975; Smartt and Simmonds 1995). In antiquity, the date palm was esteemed from India through North Africa for its sweet fruit consumed fresh or dried, for its valuable wood and leaves, and for its long life. As a result of its many virtues, the date was transformed into a sacred tree, symbolically referred to in Babylonian and Assyrian iconography. It may have been the first cultivated fruit and was well-established in the Middle
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