Coconut - Cocos nuficera Linn.
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A Maypan coconut palm, growing in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in 2008. Fig. 1
A Maypan coconut palm, growing in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. 2008

Cocos nucifera leafletsFig. 2
C. nucifera leaflets

Cocos nucifera closer view of leafletsFig. 3
C. nucifera closer view of leaflets

Cocos nucifera FibersFig. 4
C. nucifera fibers

Coconut Inflorescense Fig. 5
Coconut inflorescense

Seed FormingFig. 6
Seed forming

Cocos nucifera fruitFig. 7
C. nucifera fruit

Green FruitFig. 8
Green fruit

Fruit of the Cocos nuficeraFig. 9
Fruit of the C. nuficera

Fresh coconuts
Fig. 10

Ivory Coastian coconut
Fig. 11
A dehusked coconut shell from Ivory Coast showing the face-like markings at the base

Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) germinating on Punaluu Black Sand Beach, island of Hawai’i.
Fig. 12
Coconut palm (C. nucifera) germinating on Punaluu Black Sand Beach, island of Hawai’i

coconut harvesting
Fig. 13
Coconut plucking in Kerala, India

Notches cut into the coconut trunk to facilitate easier climbing and harvesting, Philippines
Fig. 14
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 and Fresh mature grated coconut meat, respectively (l-rt).
Fig. 15

Fresh mature grated coconut meat, opened coconut,
coconut healing oil,
2 "mata" (eyes) rarest coconut
and
Fresh mature grated coconut meat, respectively (l-rt). 

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Scientific name
Cocos nuficera Linn. (The specific name nucifera is Latin for "nut-bearing")
Pronunciation
KOE-koase noo-SIFF-er-uh
Common Names
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
Synonyms
C. nucifera var. synphyllica; Palma cocos Mill.; C. indica Royle; C. nana Griff. ; Calappa nucifera (L.) Kuntze
Family
Arecaceae
Origin
Believed to be native to the Malay Archipelago or the South Pacific
USDA hardiness zones
10B through 11
Uses
Used in many desserts, fruit salads, and main dishes; coconut can be used when fresh, dried, canned, or frozen
Height
80-100 ft  (24 - 31 m)
Spread
15 to 25 ft  
Crown
Open crown, symetrical
Plant habit
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
Growth rate
Moderate
Trunk/bark/branches
Branches don’t droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement
Little required
Leaves
Leaf blade length: 18-36 in.
Flowers
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
Fruit
Drupe, oval, round, 6-12 in.; brown, green, yellow, showy; does not attract wildlife
USDA Nutrient Content pdf
Season
Fruit set to maturity: 8 to 10 months
Crop Yield
Annual production of 50-200 fruits per tree, depending on cultivar and climate
Light requirement
Full sun
Soil tolerances
Grows well in a wide range of soil types provided the soils are well drained
PH preference
5.5-7.0
Drought tolerance
Coconut palms are tolerant of dry soil conditions; however, for optimum fruit production and quality, regular irrigation is recommended during dry periods
Salt tolerance
Highly tolerant of saline water and soils, as well as salt spray
Cold tolerance
Will be injured and may be killed by temperatures below 32°F (0°C)
Wind Resitance
Coconut palms are quite tolerant of windy sites and generally survive hurricane-force winds
Plant spacing
Commercially, they are planted 18-30 ft (5.5-9.1 m) apart; in the home landscape, they should not be crowded
Roots
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
Pest resistance
Resistant to verticillium wilt; several diseases and some pests
Known Hazard
The heavy nuts which may cause injury to man, animal, or rooftop when they hit in falling

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Reading Material
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

Origin
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

Description

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


Flowers
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

Fruit
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

Cultivars 
Over 100 varieties are known, about half of them 'tall'

Harvesting
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

Propagation
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

Planting

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

Fertilizing
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

Irrigation
At least 1 inch of water should be supplied weekly by rainfall or by irrigation, especially during the first year following transplanting. 2

Fertilization
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
More... pdf

Pruning
See Pruning Palm Trees Page

Pests Page

Disease Page

Food Uses
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

Other Uses
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


Glossary

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


Further Reading
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



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Bibliography

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.


Photographs

Fig. 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.

Fig. 6,9  Carr, Gerald D. Cocos nucifera. N.d. University of Hawaii, Botany Department, Manoa Campus Plants. botany.hawaii.edu. Web. 12 Oct. 2013.
Fig. 10 Jackson, Karen. Fresh Coconuts. 2015. growables.org. JPG file.
Fig. 11 EJavanainen. Ivory Coastian coconut. 2010. wikimedia.org. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
Fig. 12 Wmpearl. Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) germinating on Punaluu Black Sand Beach, island of Hawai’i. 2008. wikimedia.org. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
Fig. 13 Praveenp.  Coconut plucking in Kerala, India. 2009. Transferred from ml.wikipedia to Commons. by Sreejith K (talk). wikimedia.org.  Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
Fig. 14 Obsidian Soul. Notches cut into the coconut trunk to facilitate easier climbing and harvesting, Philippines. 2011. wikimedia.org. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
Fig. 15 Velasquez Ramon F. Fresh mature grated coconut meat, opened coconut, coconut healing oil, 2 "mata" (eyes) rarest coconut and Fresh mature grated coconut meat, respectively (l-rt). 2010. wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0 US). Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas

Published 2 May 2015 LR.  Updated 2 Dec. 2015 LR

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