|Coconut - Cocos nuficera Linn.|
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A Maypan coconut palm, growing in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. 2008
C. nucifera leaflets
C. nucifera closer view of leaflets
C. nucifera fibers
C. nucifera fruit
Fruit of the C. nuficera
A dehusked coconut shell from Ivory Coast showing the face-like markings at the base
Coconut palm (C. nucifera) germinating on Punaluu Black Sand Beach, island of Hawai’i
Coconut plucking in Kerala, India
Notches cut into the coconut trunk to facilitate easier climbing and harvesting, Philippines
Fresh mature grated coconut meat, opened coconut,
coconut healing oil,
2 "mata" (eyes) rarest coconut
Fresh mature grated coconut meat, respectively (l-rt).
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Cocos nuficera Linn. (The specific name nucifera is Latin for "nut-bearing")
English: coconut palm; copra; Spanish: coco de agua; cocotero; palma de coco; palmera cocotera; palmera de coco; French: coco; cocotier; cocoyer; noix de coco; Chinese: ye zi; Portuguese: coqueiro; Cuba: coco blanco; coco indio; coco morado; Germany: Kokosnusspalme; Italy: cocco; Caribbean: cocos; cocospalm; klapperboom 6
C. nucifera var. synphyllica; Palma cocos Mill.; C. indica Royle; C. nana Griff. ; Calappa nucifera (L.) Kuntze
Believed to be native to the Malay Archipelago or the South Pacific
USDA hardiness zones
10B through 11
Used in many desserts, fruit salads, and main dishes; coconut can be used when fresh, dried, canned, or frozen
80-100 ft (24 - 31 m)
15 to 25 ft
Open crown, symetrical
Large, single-trunked palm has a smooth, columnar trunk with a light grayish-brown color; the trunk is topped with a terminal crown of leaves
Branches don’t droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Leaf blade length: 18-36 in.
White/cream/gray, not showy; male and female flowers are borne on the same inflorescence; coconut palms begin to flower at about 4-6 years of age
Drupe, oval, round, 6-12 in.; brown, green, yellow, showy; does not attract wildlife
USDA Nutrient Content pdf
Fruit set to maturity: 8 to 10 months
Annual production of 50-200 fruits per tree, depending on cultivar and climate
Grows well in a wide range of soil types provided the soils are well drained
Coconut palms are tolerant of dry soil conditions; however, for optimum fruit production and quality, regular irrigation is recommended during dry periods
Highly tolerant of saline water and soils, as well as salt spray
Will be injured and may be killed by temperatures below 32°F (0°C)
Coconut palms are quite tolerant of windy sites and generally survive hurricane-force winds
Commercially, they are planted 18-30 ft (5.5-9.1 m) apart; in the home landscape, they should not be crowded
Not a problem
Invasive potential *
Is invasive and not recommended in the south zone in Florida; it should be treated with caution in the central zone in Florida, may be recommended but managed to prevent escape; it is not considered a problem species and may be recommended in the north zone in Florida
Resistant to verticillium wilt; several diseases and some pests
The heavy nuts which may cause injury to man, animal, or rooftop when they hit in falling
Coconut Palm in Florida from the University of Florida pdf 7 pages
Cocos nucifera, Coconut Palm from the University of Florida pdf
Cocos nucifera L. from the Handbook of Energy Crops
Comparatively little is known about the origin and early distribution of the coconut palm, probably because it was so widely spread throughout the tropical areas of the world so many years ago. However, the coconut palm is believed to be native to the Malay Archipelago or the South Pacific. 2
This large, single-trunked palm has a smooth, columnar trunk with a light grayish-brown color; the trunk is topped with a terminal crown of leaves. Tall varieties may attain a height of 80 - 100 ft (24-31 m) while dwarf varieties are shorter in stature. The trunk is slender and often swollen at the base. The trunk is typically curved or leaning, but is erect in some cultivars.
The coconut is the most extensively grown and used nut in the world and the most important palm. 2
The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an archaic form of the word. 4
Note: The term is derived from the 16th-century Portuguese and Spanish word coco meaning "head" or "skull", from the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features. 3
Male and female flowers are borne on the same inflorescence. The inflorescences emerge from canoe-shaped sheaths among the leaves and may be 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) long and have 10-50 branchlets.
Male flowers are small, light yellow, and are found at the ends of the branchlets. Female flowers are larger than male flowers, light yellow in color, and are found towards the base of the branchlets. Coconut palms begin to flower at about 4-6 years of age. 2
The fruits are produced in clusters near the growing tip. They vary in shape, but are generally near globose to oblong, up to a foot or more in length. The nut is encased in a thick, fibrous husk which is persistent and must be cut away to expose the nut. The shell is very hard and woody, near 0.25 inch thick. The edible, oily flesh or kernel adheres to the shell, and is about 0.25 inch thick, with a hollow center which contains a liquid during growth. The dried flesh or meat is the copra of commerce, produced in great quantities mainly for its oil. 1
Over 100 varieties are known, about half of them 'tall'
Harvesting of coconuts occurs throughout the year. The time from fruit set to full maturity is about 12 months. The fruit should be harvested fully ripe for copra and dehydrated coconut. Drinking nuts should be picked earlier, at about seven months. The nuts may be harvested by skilled climbers or may be cut from the ground, using a knife attached to a long pole. Use of climbing spikes is not recommended since the wounds caused by the spikes are permanent and may provide entry sites for diseases, such as Thielaviopsis trunk rot. 2
Coconut Palm propagation is entirely from seed – the coconuts, which are ready for planting if they produce an audible "sloshing" sound when shaken. The nuts are placed on their sides and buried with sand or mulch to about one-half the thickness of the nut. They may be planted in closely spaced rows in well drained seedbeds, or the nuts may be planted directly into large pots. Germination is best under high temperatures (90-100 °F). Upon germination, the shoot and root emerge through the side or one end of the nut. Young palms, about 6 months old, can be transplanted directly into the field or can be grown in pots in the nursery for a few more years
The fruit can float for long distances and still germinate to form new trees after being washed ashore. 2
Coconut Palms from Seed from the University of Hawi'i at Manoa pdf
Container-grown palms should be planted such that the bottom of the stem and top of the root system are about 1 inch below the surface of the soil. Field-grown palms should be planted at the same level at which they were previously grown. 2
Coconut palms in the landscape are susceptible to several nutritional deficiencies. See
Nutrient Deficiencies in Palms
To prevent nutritional deficiencies from occurring or to correct mild deficiencies, regular maintenance fertilization with a "palm special" fertilizer is recommended. These fertilizers should have an analysis of approximately 8N-2P2O5-12K2O-4Mg. 2
At least 1 inch of water should be supplied weekly by rainfall or by irrigation, especially during the first year following transplanting. 2
Susceptible to several nutritional deficiencies. To prevent nutritional deficiencies from occurring or to correct mild deficiencies, regular maintenance fertilization with a "palm special" fertilizer is recommended. These fertilizers should have an analysis of approximately 8N-2P2O5-12K2O-4Mg.
The fertilizers should also have all of their N, K, and Mg in a controlled-release form to prevent rapid leaching of these nutrients through the soil. Additionally, the fertilizers should contain about 1 - 2 % Fe and Mn plus trace amounts of Zn, Cu, and B. 2
See Pruning Palm Trees Page
The meat of immature coconuts can be eaten with a spoon or be scooped out and made into ice cream. Coconut milk, abundant in unripe nuts, is a refreshing and nutritious drink. The meat in mature coconuts is firm and can be eaten fresh or may be used for making shredded coconut.
It is also grown on a limited commercial basis in Florida for coco frio, a refreshing drink made from the water inside green coconuts.
This tree is strong, resilient and can provide us with our most basic need for life - water! The most sterile water on earth is found in this nut. 5
South Florida Tropicals: Coconut from the University of Florida pdf
The husk fiber is combed out and sold as coir, a material for making rope and coconut matting. Coir dust is an excellent substitute for peat moss in potting soils.
The most important economic product of the coconut is obtained by drying the meat into copra, which is pressed to produce coconut oil, primarily used in making soap and cosmetics.
The coconut palm, more than any other plant, gives a tropical effect to the Florida landscape provides fruit for home use. 2
Detailed information on all the Coconut Palm uses in The Coconut Palm from Agroforestry.net
Copra: The dried coconut meat (endosperm) from which oil is expelled. In ripe nuts, the endosperm contains about 50% water and 35–40% oil.
In preparing copra, the dried meat of the coconut, the nuts are cut in half, the milk drained off, and the nuts are exposed to sun. The partially dried meat contracts and can be readily removed from the shell. Further drying reduces the moisture to under 8 percent, necessary to prevent mold growth. Artificial heat is often used for this. 1
Desiccated coconut: Finely shredded, bleached and dried coconut meat (endosperm). As it is directly consumed in confections (e.g., candy bars), stringent hygiene standards are maintained in its production.
Coconut milk: White emulsion obtained by squeezing freshly shredded meat (endosperm) mixed with water.
Coconut cream: Obtained by centrifuging coconut milk whereby the cream separates from rest of the coconut
Coconut Botanical Art
Cocos nucifera: Species Profiles for Pacific Islands Agroforestry pdf 27 pages
The Coconut Palm from Agroforestry.net
The Coconut Odyssey from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research pdf 134 pages
More Images and Information
Mark's Fruit Crops: Coconut ext. link
List of Growers & Vendors
1 Magness, J.R., G.M. Markle, C.C. Compton. "Food and feed crops of the United States." hort.purdue.edu. Interregional Research Project IR-4, IR Bul. 1 (Bul. 828 New Jersey Agr. Expt. Sta.). 1971. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.
2 Broschat, T.K. and Crane, Jonathan H. "The Coconut Palm In Florida." edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is HS40, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date April 1984. Revised June 2014. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
3 Dalgado, Sebastião. "Glossário luso-asiático." wikipedia.org. google.com 1. p. 291. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
4 J. Pearsall, ed. (1999). "Coconut." wikipedia.org. Concise Oxford Dictionary (10th ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-860287-1. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
5 "Cocos nucifera (Arecaceae)." ntbg.org. National Tropical Botanical Garden. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.
6 "Cocos nucifera (coconut)." cabi.org. Invasive Species Compendium. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.
Fig. 1 A Maypan coconut palm, growing in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in 2008. edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.
Fig. 2,3,4,7 Anderson, Patti, J. Cocos nucifera. 2011. Identifying Commonly Cultivated Palms, a Resource for Pests and Diseases of Cultivated Palms. idtools.org/id/palm/palmid. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.
Fig. 5,8 Cocos nucifera. N.d. Plant catalog. toptropicals.com. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.
Carr, Gerald D. Cocos
nucifera. N.d. University of
Hawaii, Botany Department, Manoa Campus Plants. botany.hawaii.edu. Web. 12 Oct. 2013.
Published 2 May 2015 LR. Updated 2 Dec. 2015 LR