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Temporal range: 55–0 Ma Early Eocene – Recent
|Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera)|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||354 kcal (1,480 kJ)|
|Dietary fiber||9.0 g|
|Aspartic acid||0.325 g|
|Glutamic acid||0.761 g|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family) and the only species of the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the whole coconut palm or the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an archaic form of the word. 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.
Coconuts are known for their great versatility, as evidenced by many traditional uses, ranging from food to cosmetics. They form a regular part of the diets of many people in the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are distinct from other fruits for their large quantity of "water", and when immature, they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for their potable coconut water. When mature, they still contain some water and can be used as seednuts or processed to give oil from the kernel, charcoal from the hard shell, and coir from the fibrous husk. The endosperm is initially in its nuclear phase suspended within the coconut water. As development continues, cellular layers of endosperm deposit along the walls of the coconut, becoming the edible coconut "flesh". When dried, the coconut flesh is called copra. The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying, as well as in soaps and cosmetics. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. The coconut also has cultural and religious significance in certain societies, particularly in India, where it is used in Hindu rituals.
Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m (98 ft) tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m (13–20 ft) long, and pinnae 60–90 cm long; old leaves break away cleanly, leaving the trunk smooth. Coconuts are generally classified into two general types: tall and dwarf. On fertile soil, a tall coconut palm tree can yield up to 75 fruits per year, but more often yields less than 30, mainly due to poor cultural practices. Given proper care and growing conditions, coconut palms produce their first fruit in six to ten years, taking 15 – 20 years to reach peak production.
|Top coconut producers in 2014
(millions of tonnes)
|Sri Lanka Tall||(Typical/Typica)||Tall stature, allogamous, heterogeneous, flowers in 6 –7
years, medium-sized nuts, 20-25 nuts per bunch, 60-80 nuts per palm per year
|Gon Thembili||(Typica/Gon thembili)||Similar to Sri Lanka Tall. Ivory colored nuts, petioles and
|Nawasi||(Typica/Nawasi)||Similar to Sri Lanka Tall. Soft mesocarp - edible in the
immature nut yields soft fiber when mature
|Pora pol||(Typica/Pora pot)||Similar to Sri Lanka Tall. Remarkably thick shelled nuts|
|Ran Thembii||(Typica/Ran thembili)||Similar to Sri Lanka Tall. Pink coloured mesocarp in
immature fruit and a pink whorl under the perianth. Large nuts
|Kamandala||(Typica/Kamandala)||Similar to Sri Lanka Tall. Large sized nuts (largest among
local forms), and few nuts per bunch (2-5 nuts per bunch)
|Bodiri||(Typica/Bodiri)||Similar to Sri Lanka Tall. Small sized nuts and large
number per bunch (30-100 nuts per bunch). Seasonal nut production
|Dikiri||(Typica/Dikiri)||Similar to Sri Lanka Tall. Some nuts contain a jelly-like
|King Coconut||(Aurantiaca/King coconut)||Intermediate stature, autogamous, homogeneous, fruits in 6–7 years, seasonal flower production, medium-sized nuts with orange epicarp and sweet nut water, 25-50 nuts per bunch|
|Nawasi Thembili||(Aurantiaca/Nawasi thembili)||Similar to King Coconut. Soft and edible mesocarp like
|Rathran Thembili||(Aurantiaca/'Rathran thembili)||Similar to King Coconut. Pink coloured mesocarp and a
pink whorl under the perianth
|Green Dwarf||(Nana/Green dwarf or pumila)||Dwarf stature, autogamous, homogeneous, fruits in 3–4
years, small sized nuts with green epicarp. low copra content, 80-150 nuts per palm per year
|Yellow Dwarf||(Nana/Yellow dwarf or eburnea)||Similar to Green dwarf. Nuts with yellow epicarp|
|Red Dwarf||(Nana/Red dwarf or regia)||Similar to Green dwarf. Nuts with red epicarp|
|Brown Dwarf||(Nana/Brown dwarf or braune)||Similar to Green dwarf. Nuts with a brown epicarp|
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