Coconut Palm Tree (Cocos Nucifera)

The canopy of a coconut palm tree has a diameter between 26 and 30 ft.


When most people first picture a Palm Tree, they think of soft, warm sand beneath their feet, soothing waves washing up along the sea shore, a hot afternoon sun shining down and a gentle breeze rustling the trees of the tall palm trees around them. You can definitely find this scene on many beaches along the islands of the Bahamas--but don't think that the tropics are the only place you will find a palm tree in your daily life. In fact, it is one of the most useful trees in the world with tens of hundreds of contemporary uses, half of which are in things that we eat.
The Coconut Palm Tree (Cocos Nucifera) is one of the most important crops of the tropics. The name of the genus, Cocos, is the word for "monkey" in Portuguese, referring to the shape of a face that resembles a monkey on the striped nut. The species name, Nucifera, means "nut bearing" referring to the coconuts that grow on the tree. The Coconut Palm is the only member of the genus 'cocos' and of the more than 2500 species in the palm family (Arecaceae, alternately known as Palmaceae), the Coconut Palm is the best known. The Coconut Palm's overall lifespan usually reaches to about 80 or 90 years.
Coconut Palm Trees are found throughout many tropical regions of the world

Visual Appearance

The Coconut Palm rises to a height of approximately 80 feet, beginning at the ground with a swollen base and surmounted by a crown of giant, green feather-like leaves. These trees flourish close to the sea on low-lying areas a few feet above ground water with ample rainfall. This tree is often found leaning to one side because of the high tropic wind levels causing it to bend and grow tilted. The fruit load also weighs it down and the instability of the soil adds to the leaning as well.


Cocos Nucifera trees can be found growing throughout the tropical regions of the world including about 80 countries. The main countries that members of the Arecaceae family are found are in some areas and territories of the United States, parts of India, some countries in the Middle East, southern and eastern Africa and most of Central and South America. Though the origin is not exactly known, the Coconut Palm was most likely originated near the Indian Ocean. The species spread from island to island by the dispersion of coconuts through both ocean currents as well as humans.

The Coconut:
A mature coconut will get to be about 12 to 18 inches in length.

Just about 4-5 years after birth, the Coconut Palm begins to produce male and female flowers. Just afterwards (about 5-6 years after birth) the Palms begin to bear fruit, the coconut. Full bearing of the tree is not obtained until about 15 years. A mature coconut is oval in shape and about 12-18 inches in length. They have a thick, fibrous husk which surrounds the meat of the nut. The hard shell encloses the embryo with its endosperm, composed of both meat and liquid. The annual yield of coconuts per tree may reach 100 on a very successful year but 50 is considered sufficient. These yields continue each year until the trees are about 50 years old.
"The coconut palm produces fruits with three carpels, which is common within the Arecaceae family. Two pores are closed while one pore is open for the access of the seed. Inside the fruit of the coconut is "coconut apple" which absorbs the endosperm tissue so that the shoots receive the sugar and minerals that it needs from the endosperm. As the shoot and the root grow from the seed, they break through the mesocarp and exocarp and start the process of growing into a coconut tree." (

All the parts of a coconut can be used in thousands of ways in our everyday lives.

Uses of the coconut parts:

Nutmeat- The firm, white, rich stored food that lines the inside of the nut. Very high in calories and used often in food.
Coconut Oil- Oil extracted from the dry nutmeat of mature seeds. This is used in many foods and items such as soaps, chocolate, candy, ice cream, baking, candles, ointments, toothpaste, paints, and much more.
Coconut Water- Watery fluid found in immature nuts that is clear, colorless, and contains sugar as well as vitamins and minerals. Can be drunk pure in addition to being added to other food items.
Coconut Milk- Liquid squeezed from the nutmeat of the coconut seed. It is rich in oils and nutrients and can be used in sauces and prepared foods.
Flowers- Sap can be extracted from these flowers and can be boiled down into a sweet syrup. If this syrup is left to ferment it can be made into an 8% alcohol drink and distilled to eventually make pure alcohol or left to become vinegar. The flowers are also surrounded by a leaf that can be used as a natural cloth for shoes, hats, ect...
Husk- Composed of tightly packed fibers called coir. Coir can be woven into rope, twine, mats, rugs, bags, and more. Also can be ground up to be used in soil mixes for greenhouse plants.
Inner Seed Shell- This hard, and fine-grained material can be shaped into cups, ladles, pots, utensils, buttons, and more. It is also used extensively as a fuel in the tropics and it's absorption properties can be useful in gas masks, cigarette filters, and other purifying systems.
Leaves- The long, green leaves can be used for roofs or fences in the tropics. Thinner leaf strips can be used to weave clothing or furnishings and stiff midribs can be used for cooking skewers, kindling, and arrows. Boundtogether, these leaves can be fashioned into brooms or brushes

coconuts in a palm tree.jpeg
A coconut palm tree's annual yield can reach up to about 100.

The reproductive parts of the coconut.

There are thousands of contemporary uses of Coconut Palm trees for our everyday lives.


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Reynolds, Carly. "How Does the Coconut Palm Reproduce?" EHow. Demand Media, 25 Mar. 2010. Web. Dec. 2012. <>.