Coconut Palm – Cocos nucifera
Coconut Palm, Cocos nucifera is native to northwest South America and has spread across much of the tropics. It thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with a lot of sunlight and regular rainfall and high humidity, up to 80%+ for optimum growth. The tree grows to a height of 18 – 30 meters.
The flowers are both male and female flowers in the same inflorescence. Flowering occurs continuously, with female flowers producing seeds. The trees are largely cross-pollinated although some varieties are self-pollinating.
Coconut Palm Fruit and Nuts
Botanically speaking a coconut is a simple dry fruit, not a true nut, known as a drupe. When the coconut is still green, the endosperm inside is thin and tender, however, when the nut has ripened and the outer husk has turned hard and brown, a couple of months later the nut falls from the tree. A well-cared tree can produce from 75 to 200 or more nuts annually.
All parts of the plant are useful; the coco palm actually is one of the most useful trees. Every part of the tree is having some value. The fruit can either be eaten ripe or unripe, raw or cooked. The terminal bud and the inner part of young stems are also eaten.
The milk of the young nut is a nutritious drink. A sweet liquid obtained from the flower buds ferments readily and is used as a beverage it may be boiled down to make jaggery. Commercially the greatest value of the coconut lies in the oil, which is extracted from the dried kernels of the fruit.
Plant propagation is by seed. nuts are collected from selected mother palms, Germination may begin while the fruits are still attached to the palm.
coconut palm, Cocos nucifera
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