Coconut - plant profile
The plantCoconuts can grow to between 15 and 30 m tall in plantations. Their trunks are ringed with scars where old leaves have fallen. The top of the trunk is crowned with a rosette of leaves.
|Coconut palms are classic symbols of the tropics.|
Leaves - feather-shaped and split into lots of leaflets. Long leaves can grow up to 7 m long and can have 250 leaflets. They are used for matting, weaving and thatching.
Flowers - male and female flowers grow on the same plants on flowering branches. Flowers are pale yellow and are about 1 cm long. The base of flowering branches are tapped for sap.
Fruits - are coconuts. They are oval and covered with a smooth skin which can be bright green, brilliant orange or ivory coloured. Underneath this skin is a thick fibrous layer which is used for coir. The next layer is the shell of the seed with the three characteristic 'eyes'. The shell may be used to make charcoal and eating utensils. The inside of the shell is lined with a white, edible layer called the meat. This is also made into chemical, industrial and medicinal products. The fluid inside the seed cavity is known as coconut water (not milk). When seeds germinate, the new shoot sprouts from one of the eyes.
The coconut is the only species in the genus Cocos. Because coconut palms can have so many different uses, in India it has been called the 'tree of heaven' or 'kalpavriksha'.