Common Names: Coconut
Habit: Cocos nucifera
grows with a single unbranched trunk (often leaning), up to 30 m in
height and 50 cm in diameter although the base gets thicker. The
leaves are arranged in a spiral fashion grouped at the growing tip.
The leaves are pinnnately compound and up to 7 m in length.
The flowers are arranged in a panicle
inflorescence that emerges at the leaf bases from 2 large bracts. The
flowers are whitish, monoecious and clustered with 2 male flowers for
each female flower. The male flowers have 3 sepals in the calyx, 6
stamens and an infertile ovary. The female flowers are larger than
the males, have 3 sepals, 3 petals, infertile stamens and an ovary
with 3 locules. The fruit is a 3-sided drupe (40-50 cm long) that
turns yellow or brown with age and has a thick fibrous husk around
nucifera grows in many habitats from areas of human habitation to
Distribution in Bahamas/Globally:
Occurs on all islands in the Bahamian Archipelago, and throughout the
world in tropic and subtropic areas. It is originally from the
Cocos nucifera is used in the Bahamas to cure sore throats.
The flowers can be a important source
for honey bees. The fruit is highly edible. It produces a “milk”
that can be drunken and a “meat”; that is used in cooking and
making of sweets or eaten raw. From the edible portions oils are
also extracted for cooking and soap production. The husk and “shell”
are used for sculpture and jewelry. The leave can be used for thatch
for roofing or plaiting to make hats.
Cocos nucifera is considered one
of the most economically important tree species in the world.