Cocos nucifera L.
Family : Arecaceae
Common Name : തെങ്ങ് (Mal)
: नारियल (Hin)
: Coconut (Eng)
The Coconut Palm is a member of the palm family. It is the only species in the Genus Cocos, and is a large palm, growing to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4-6 m long, pinnae 60-90 cm long; old leaves break away cleanly leaving the trunk smooth. The term coconut refers to the fruit of the coconut palm. The flowers of the coconut palm are polygamomonoecious, with both male and female flowers in the same inflorescence. Flowering occurs continuously, with female flowers producing seeds. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating. The origin of this plant are the subject of controversy with some authorities claiming it is native to southeast Asia, while others claim its origin is in northwestern South America. Fossil records from New Zealand indicate that small, coconut-like plants grew there as far back 15 million years ago. Even older fossils have been uncovered in Rajasthan & Maharashtra, India.
Erect trees with annular petiolar scars. Leaves pinnatisect, 4-6 m long; leaflets reduplicate, 60-100 x 2.5-5 cm, base narrow, apex tapering, acute. Spadices interfoliar, 50-100 cm long, panicled; branches to 60 cm long. Spathe 60-130 cm long, oblong, woody. Flowers monoecious, subsessile. Male flowers: often paired, to 8 mm long. Sepals c. 3 mm long, ovate. Petals 6-8 mm long, ovate, woody, yellowish-brown. Stamens 6; pistillode short, 3-fid. Female flowers 1-3 per branch, basal, globose. Perianth-lobes 6; woody; outer lobes broadly obovate, c. 2 cm across; inner lobes reniform, to 2 cm across. Ovary 3-celled; ovule 1 per cell; style short. Drupe to 30 cm long, ovoid or globose, trigonous; pericarp fibrous; endocarp stony; seed coherent with the endocarp.
Use: The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life").
Distribution : Cultivated throughout the tropics
Flowering & Fruiting : Throughout the year