The Medieval Garden Enclosed has a wonderful post about the date palm tree. My name is the Hebrew word for this variety of palm, so I feel a special affinity for this amazing plant.
As the post points out, the date palm was long regarded as a symbol of life, and it was one of the trees associated with the Canaanite goddess Asherah. While it is no longer revered, it remains an important plant, cultivated chiefly for its fruit (though every part of it may be used). I enjoy date molasses on my oatmeal; it has a milder flavor than its sugarcane counterpart.