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Temporal range: 55–0 Ma
Early Eocene – Recent
Cocos nucifera - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-187.jpg
Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Subfamily: Arecoideae
Tribe: Cocoeae
Genus: Cocos
Species: C. nucifera
Binomial name
Cocos nucifera
Coconut meat, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 354 kcal (1,480 kJ)
15.23 g
Sugars 6.23 g
Dietary fiber 9.0 g
33.49 g
Saturated 29.698 g
Monounsaturated 1.425 g
Polyunsaturated 0.366 g
3.33 g
Tryptophan 0.039 g
Threonine 0.121 g
Isoleucine 0.131 g
Leucine 0.247 g
Lysine 0.147 g
Methionine 0.062 g
Cystine 0.066 g
Phenylalanine 0.169 g
Tyrosine 0.103 g
Valine 0.202 g
Arginine 0.546 g
Histidine 0.077 g
Alanine 0.170 g
Aspartic acid 0.325 g
Glutamic acid 0.761 g
Glycine 0.158 g
Proline 0.138 g
Serine 0.172 g
Thiamine (B1)
0.066 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.020 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.540 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.300 mg
Vitamin B6
0.054 mg
Folate (B9)
26 μg
Vitamin C
3.3 mg
Vitamin E
0.24 mg
Vitamin K
0.2 μg
14 mg
2.43 mg
32 mg
1.500 mg
113 mg
356 mg
20 mg
1.10 mg
Other constituents
Water 46.99 g

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)

Country Production
 Indonesia 19.1
 Philippines 14.7
 India 11.1
 Brazil 2.9
 Sri Lanka 2.2
Common name Variety/form Features
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

  • Mean daily temperature above 12–13 °C (54–55 °F) every day of the year
  • Mean annual rainfall above 1,000 mm (39 in)
  • No or very little overhead canopy, since even small trees require direct sun
  • Dwarf yellow coconut
  • Dwarf orange coconut
  • Golden Malay coconut
  • Dwarf green coconut
  • Fiji Dwarf (Niu Leka)
  • Green Malay coconut
  • King coconut
  • Makapuno coconut
  • Maypan coconut
  • Nawassi coconut
  • Yellow Malay coconut
  • Yellow Coconut
  • Red Coconut
  • Hybrid (red and green mix) and Green Coconuts


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