Conservation status: Secure |
Coconut Palm |
Kingdom: | Plantae |
Division: | Magnoliophyta |
Class: | Liliopsida |
Order: | Arecales |
Family: | Arecaceae |
Genus: | Cocos |
Species: | C. nucifera |
Binomial name |
The Coconut Palm(Cocos nucifera), is a member of the familyArecaceae (palm family). It is the only species in the genus Cocos, and is a large palm, growing to 30 m tall, with pinnateleaves 4-6 m long, with pinnae 60-90 cm long; old leaves fall cleanly leaving the trunk smooth. The term coconut refers to the fruit of the coconut palm.
Origins and Cultivation
The origins of this plant are the subject of debate with ...view middle of the document...
Botanically, a coconut is a simple dry fruit known as a fibrous drupe(not a true nut). The husk (mesocarp) is composed of fibres calledcoir and there is an inner "stone" (the endocarp). This hard endocarp (the coconut as sold in the shops of non-tropical countries) has threegermination pores that are clearly visible on the outside surface once the husk is removed. It is through one of these that the radicleemerges when the embryo germinates. When viewed on end, the endocarp and germination pores resemble the face of a monkey, thePortuguese word for which is coco.
In some parts of the world, trained monkeys are used to harvest the coconut. Training schools for monkeys still exist in southern Thailand. Competitions are held each year to discover the fastest harvester.
All parts of the coconut palm are useful, and the trees have a comparatively high yield (up to 75 "nuts" per year); it therefore has significant economic value. The name for the coconut palm inSanskrit is kalpa vriksha, which translates as "the tree which provides all the necessities of life". In Malay, the coconut is known aspokok seribu guna, "the tree of a thousand uses".
Uses of the various parts of the palm include:
1. The white, fleshy part of the seed is edible and used fresh or dried (desiccated) in cooking.
2. The cavity is filled with "coconut water" containing sugars which are used as a refreshing drink, and in the making of the gelatinous dessert Nata de Coco. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young coconuts. Coconut water is sterile until the coconut is opened (unless the coconut is spoiled).
3. Coconut milk (which is approximately 17% fat) is made by processing grated coconut with hot water or hot milk which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds from the fibre.
4. Coconut cream is what rises to the top when coconut milk is refrigerated and left to set.
5. The leftover fibre from coconut milk production is used as livestock feed.
6. The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut form a drink known as "toddy" or, in the Philippines, tuba.
7. Apical buds of adult plants are edible and are known as "palm-cabbage" (though...