Item 02: Frank Valentine Weir letter diary, 2 January-31 December 1916 - Page 109
[Monday 17 April 1916]
Palm Sunday was really kept up here & the Copts decorated their Church. I watched a Native putting the Pollen from one tree to another, first sprinkling the flowers of the female tree with Sugar cane juice, which he chewed & spat out, so that the other pollen will stick on.
On enquiry I hear that it is 7 years before the Female flowers, & 2 years before the Male does, only the former bears dates, but the sex may change in a few rare occassions.
Male tree has smaller thorns & harder & blossoms before the Female as a rule.
The dates are sown in the fibre of another tree 6" in the ground about 100 stones to the square foot & when they come up the male seedlings are straight & strong the females weaker & bent- the proportion about 2 of the later to 1 of former as the Males do not bear only a few trees are transplanted
(I feel a bit sick from Virus)