new icn messageflickr-free-ic3d pan white
View allAll Photos Tagged sambar+vadai

This is traditional food of south India.

 

Main Course

 

1. Idly

2. Vadai

 

Side Dish

 

1. Sambar

2. Coriander Chutney

3. Coconut Chutney

4. Tomato Chutney

5. Idly Chilli Powder

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family).

 

It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. 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. 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.

 

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of "water" and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. 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; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is potable. 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 many societies that use it.

 

DESCRIPTION

PLANT

Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m 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.

 

FRUIT

Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like other fruits, it has three layers: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the "husk" of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of nontropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of a fiber, called coir, which has many traditional and commercial uses. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or "eyes" that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed.

 

A full-sized coconut weighs about 1.44 kg. It takes around 6,000 full-grown coconuts to produce a tonne of copra.

 

ROOTS

Unlike some other plants, the palm tree has neither a tap root nor root hairs, but has a fibrous root system.

 

The coconut palm root system consists of an abundance of thin roots that grow outward from the plant near the surface. Only a few of the roots penetrate deep into the soil for stability. The type of root system is known as fibrous or adventitious, and is a characteristic of grass species. Other types of large trees produce a single downward-growing tap root with a number of feeder roots growing from it.

 

Coconut palms continue to produce roots from the base of the stem throughout its life. The number of roots produced depends on the age of the tree and the environment, with more than 3,600 roots possible on a tree that's 60 to 70 years old.

 

Roots are usually less than about 3 inches in diameter and uniformly thick from the tree trunk to the root tip.

Inflorescence

 

The palm produces both the female and male flowers on the same inflorescence; thus, the palm is monoecious. Other sources use the term polygamomonoecious. The female flower is much larger than the male flower. Flowering occurs continuously. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating.

 

ETYMOLOGY

One of the earliest mentions of the coconut dates back to the One Thousand and One Nights story of Sinbad the Sailor; he is known to have bought and sold coconuts during his fifth voyage. Tenga, its Malayalam and Tamil name, was used in the detailed description of coconut found in Itinerario by Ludovico di Varthema published in 1510 and also in the later Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Even earlier, it was called nux indica, a name used by Marco Polo in 1280 while in Sumatra, taken from the Arabs who called it جوز هندي jawz hindī. Both names translate to "Indian nut". In the earliest description of the coconut palm known, given by Cosmos of Alexandria in his Topographia Christiana written about 545 AD, there is a reference to the argell tree and its drupe.

 

Historical evidence favors the European origin of the name "coconut", for no name is similar in any of the languages of India, where the Portuguese first found the fruit; and indeed Barbosa, Barros, and Garcia, in mentioning the Tamil/Malayalam name tenga, and Canarese narle, expressly say, "we call these fruits quoquos", "our people have given it the name of coco", and "that which we call coco, and the Malabars temga".

 

The OED states: "Portuguese and Spanish authors of the 16th c. agree in identifying the word with Portuguese and Spanish coco "grinning face, grin, grimace", also "bugbear, scarecrow", cognate with cocar "to grin, make a grimace"; the name being said to refer to the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its three holes. According to Losada, the name came from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The coconut shell reminded them of a ghost or witch in Portuguese folklore called coco (also côca). The first known recorded usage of the term is 1555.

 

The specific name nucifera is Latin for "nut-bearing".

Origin, domestication, and dispersal

 

ORIGIN

The origin of the plant is the subject of debate. O.F. Cook was one of the earliest modern researchers to draw conclusions about the location of origin of Cocos nucifera based on its current-day worldwide distribution. He hypothesized that the coconut originated in the Americas, based on his belief that American coconut populations predated European contact and because he considered pan-tropical distribution by ocean currents improbable. Thor Heyerdahl later used this hypothesis of the American origin of the coconut to support his theory that the Pacific Islanders originated in South America. However, more evidence exists for an Indo-Pacific origin either around Melanesia and Malesia or the Indian Ocean. The oldest fossils known of the modern coconut dating from the Eocene period from around 37 to 55 million years ago were found in Australia and India. However, older palm fossils such as some of nipa fruit have been found in the Americas. Since 1978, the work on tracing the probable origin and dispersal of Cocos nucifera has only recently been augmented by a publication on the germination rate of the coconut seednut and another on the importance of the coral atoll ecosystem. Briefly, the coconut originated in the coral atoll ecosystem — without human intervention — and required a thick husk and slow germination to survive and disperse.

 

DOMESTICATION

Coconuts could not reach inland locations without human intervention (to carry seednuts, plant seedlings, etc.) and it was early germination on the palm (vivipary) that was important, rather than increasing the number or size of the edible parts of a fruit that was already large enough. Human cultivation of the coconut selected, not for larger size, but for thinner husks and increased volume of endosperm, the solid “meat” or liquid “water” that provides the fruit its food value. Although these modifications for domestication would reduce the fruit’s ability to float, this ability would be irrelevant to a cultivated population.

 

Among modern C. nucifera, two major types or variants: a thick-husked, angular fruit and a thin-husked, spherical fruit with a higher proportion of endosperm reflect a trend of cultivation in C. nucifera: the first coconuts were of the niu kafa type, with thick husks to protect the seed, an angular, highly ridged shape to promote buoyancy during ocean dispersal, and a pointed base that allowed fruits to dig into the sand, preventing them from being washed away during germination on a new island. As early human communities began to harvest coconuts for eating and planting, they (perhaps unintentionally) selected for a larger endosperm to husk ratio and a broader, spherical base, which rendered the fruit useful as a cup or bowl, thus creating the niu vai type. The decreased buoyancy and increased fragility of this spherical, thin-husked fruit would not matter for a species that had started to be dispersed by humans and grown in plantations. Harries’ adoption of the Polynesian terms niu kafa and niu vai has now passed into general scientific discourse, and his hypothesis is generally accepted.

 

Variants of C. nucifera are also categorized as Tall (var. typica) or Dwarf (var. nana). The two groups are genetically distinct, with the Dwarf variety showing a greater degree of artificial selection for ornamental traits and for early germination and fruiting. The Tall variety is outcrossing while Dwarf palms are incrossing, which has led to a much greater degree of genetic diversity within the Tall group. It is believed that the Dwarf subgroup mutated from the Tall group under human selection pressure.

 

DISPERSAL

It is often stated that coconuts can travel 110 days, or 4,800 km, by sea and still be able to germinate. This figure has been questioned based on the extremely small sample size that forms the basis of the paper that makes this claim. Thor Heyerdahl provides an alternative, and much shorter, estimate based on his first-hand experience crossing the Pacific Ocean on the raft Kon-Tiki: "The nuts we had in baskets on deck remained edible and capable of germinating the whole way to Polynesia. But we had laid about half among the special provisions below deck, with the waves washing around them. Every single one of these was ruined by the sea water. And no coconut can float over the sea faster than a balsa raft moves with the wind behind it." He also notes that several of the nuts began to germinate by the time they had been ten weeks at sea, precluding an unassisted journey of 100 days or more. However, it is more than likely that the coconut variety Heyerdahl chose for his long sea voyage was of the large, fleshy, spherical niu vai type, which Harries observed to have a significantly shorter germination type and worse buoyancy than the uncultivated niu kafa type. Therefore, Heyerdahl’s observations cannot be considered conclusive when it comes to determining the independent dispersal ability of the uncultivated coconut.

 

Drift models based on wind and ocean currents have shown that coconuts could not have drifted across the Pacific unaided. This provides some circumstantial evidence that Austronesian peoples carried coconuts across the ocean and that they could not have dispersed worldwide without human agency. More recently, genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) has shed light on the movements of Austronesian peoples. By examining 10 microsatellite loci, researchers found two genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut - one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, admixture, the transfer of genetic material, evidently occurred between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, individuals from one population possibly could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to Madagascar and coastal east Africa, and exclude the Seychelles. This pattern coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, a genetically distinct subpopulation of coconut on the Pacific coast of Latin America has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect; however, its ancestral population is the Pacific coconut. This, together with their use of the South American sweet potato, suggests that Austronesian peoples may have sailed as far east as the Americas.

 

DISTRIBUTION

The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild are light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. Specimens have been collected from the sea as far north as Norway. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in Oceania. They have been found in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America for less than 500 years, but evidence of their presence on the Pacific coast of South America predates Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. They are now almost ubiquitous between 26°N and 26°S except for the interiors of Africa and South America.

  

NATURAL HABITAT

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity (70–80%+) for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity. However, they can be found in humid areas with low annual precipitation such as in Karachi, Pakistan, which receives only about 250 mm of rainfall per year, but is consistently warm and humid.

 

Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather. Some seasonal variation is tolerated, with good growth where mean summer temperatures are between 28 and 37 °C, and survival as long as winter temperatures are above 4–12 °C; they will survive brief drops to 0 °C. Severe frost is usually fatal, although they have been known to recover from temperatures of −4 °C. They may grow but not fruit properly in areas with insufficient warmth, such as Bermuda.

 

The conditions required for coconut trees to grow without any care are:

 

- Mean daily temperature above 12–13 °C every day of the year

- Mean annual rainfall above 1000 mm

- No or very little overhead canopy, since even small trees require direct sun

 

The main limiting factor for most locations which satisfy the rainfall and temperature requirements is canopy growth, except those locations near coastlines, where the sandy soil and salt spray limit the growth of most other trees.

 

DISEASES

Coconuts are susceptible to the phytoplasma disease lethal yellowing. One recently selected cultivar, the Maypan, has been bred for resistance to this disease.

 

PESTS

The coconut palm is damaged by the larvae of many Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species which feed on it, including Batrachedra spp.: B. arenosella, B. atriloqua (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), B. mathesoni (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), and B. nuciferae.

 

Brontispa longissima (coconut leaf beetle) feeds on young leaves, and damages both seedlings and mature coconut palms. In 2007, the Philippines imposed a quarantine in Metro Manila and 26 provinces to stop the spread of the pest and protect the $800 million Philippine coconut industry.

 

The fruit may also be damaged by eriophyid coconut mites (Eriophyes guerreronis). This mite infests coconut plantations, and is devastating: it can destroy up to 90% of coconut production. The immature seeds are infested and desapped by larvae staying in the portion covered by the perianth of the immature seed; the seeds then drop off or survive deformed. Spraying with wettable sulfur 0.4% or with neem-based pesticides can give some relief, but is cumbersome and labor-intensive.

 

In Kerala (India), the main coconut pests are the coconut mite, the rhinoceros beetle, the red palm weevil and the coconut leaf caterpillar. Research into countermeasures to these pests has as of 2009 yielded no results; researchers from the Kerala Agricultural University and the Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasaragode continue to work on countermeasures. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has developed an innovative extension approach called the compact area group approach (CAGA) to combat coconut mites.

 

PRODUCTION AND CULTIVATION

Coconut palms are grown in more than 90 countries of the world, with a total production of 62 million tonnes per year (table). Most of the world production is in tropical Asia, with Indonesia, the Philippines and India accounting collectively for 73% of the world total (table).

 

CULTIVATION

Coconut trees are hard to establish in dry climates, and cannot grow there without frequent irrigation; in drought conditions, the new leaves do not open well, and older leaves may become desiccated; fruit also tends to be shed.

 

The extent of cultivation in the tropics is threatening a number of habitats, such as mangroves; an example of such damage to an ecoregion is in the Petenes mangroves of the Yucatán.

 

HARVESTING

In some parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia), trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. Training schools for pig-tailed macaques still exist both in southern Thailand and in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. Competitions are held each year to find the fastest harvester.

 

INDIA

Traditional areas of coconut cultivation in India are the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar. As per 2013-14 statistics from Coconut Development Board of Government of India, four southern states combined account for almost 92% of the total production in the country: Tamil Nadu (31.93%), Kerala (27.54%), Karnataka (23.26%), and Andhra Pradesh (8.43%). Other states, such as Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and those in the northeast (Tripura and Assam) account for the remaining productions. Though Kerala has the largest number of coconut trees, in terms of production per hectare, Tamil Nadu leads all other states. In Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore and Tirupur regions top the production list.

 

Various terms, such as copra and coir, are derived from the native Malayalam language. In Kerala, the coconut tree is called "Thengu" also termed as kalpa vriksham, which essentially means all parts of a coconut tree is useful some way or other. In Tamil Nadu, a coconut tree is called as "Thennai maram" and tender coconut is called as "Ilaneer" in the native language.

 

MALDIVES

The coconut is the national tree of the Maldives and is considered the most important plant in the country. A coconut tree is also included in the country's national emblem or coat of arms. Coconut trees are grown on all the islands. Before modern construction methods were introduced, coconut leaves were used as roofing material for many houses in the islands, while coconut timber was used to build houses and boats.

 

MIDDLE EAST

The main coconut-producing area in the Middle East is the Dhofar region of Oman, but they can be grown all along the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea coasts, because these seas are tropical and provide enough humidity (through seawater evaporation) for coconut trees to grow. The young coconut plants need to be nursed and irrigated with drip pipes until they are old enough (stem bulb development) to be irrigated with brackish water or seawater alone, after which they can be replanted on the beaches. In particular, the area around Salalah maintains large coconut plantations similar to those found across the Arabian Sea in Kerala. The reasons why coconut are cultivated only in Yemen's Al Mahrah and Hadramaut governorates and in the Sultanate of Oman, but not in other suitable areas in the Arabian Peninsula, may originate from the fact that Oman and Hadramaut had long dhow trade relations with Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Africa and Zanzibar, as well as southern India and China. Omani people needed the coir rope from the coconut fiber to stitch together their traditional high seas-going dhow vessels in which nails were never used. The 'know how' of coconut cultivation and necessary soil fixation and irrigation may have found its way into Omani, Hadrami and Al-Mahra culture by people who returned from those overseas areas.

 

The coconut cultivars grown in Oman are generally of the drought-resistant Indian "West Coast tall" (WC Tall) variety. Unlike the UAE, which grows mostly non-native dwarf or hybrid coconut cultivars imported from Florida for ornamental purposes, the slender, tall Omani coconut cultivars are relatively well-adapted to the Middle East's hot dry seasons, but need longer to reach maturity. The Middle East's hot, dry climate favors the development of coconut mites, which cause immature seed dropping and may cause brownish-gray discoloration on the coconut's outer green fiber.

 

The ancient coconut groves of Dhofar were mentioned by the medieval Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta in his writings, known as Al Rihla.[52] The annual rainy season known locally as Khareef or monsoon makes coconut cultivation easy on the Arabian east coast.

 

Coconut trees also are increasingly grown for decorative purposes along the coasts of the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the help of irrigation. The UAE has, however, imposed strict laws on mature coconut tree imports from other countries to reduce the spread of pests to other native palm trees, as the mixing of date and coconut trees poses a risk of cross-species palm pests, such as rhinoceros beetles and red palm weevils. The artificial landscaping adopted in Florida may have been the cause for lethal yellowing, a viral coconut palm disease that leads to the death of the tree. It is spread by host insects, that thrive on heavy turf grasses. Therefore, heavy turf grass environments (beach resorts and golf courses) also pose a major threat to local coconut trees. Traditionally, dessert banana plants and local wild beach flora such as Scaevola taccada and Ipomoea pes-caprae were used as humidity-supplying green undergrowth for coconut trees, mixed with sea almond and sea hibiscus. Due to growing sedentary life styles and heavy-handed landscaping, there has been a decline in these traditional farming and soil-fixing techniques.

 

SRI LANKA

An early mention of the planting of coconuts is found in the Mahavamsa during the reign of Agrabodhi II around 589 AD. Coconuts are common in the Sri Lankan diet and the main source of dietary fat.

 

UNITED STATES

In the United States coconut palms can be grown and reproduced outdoors without irrigation in Hawaii, southern and central Florida, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

In Florida, Coconut palms will grow from coastal Pinellas County and St. Petersburg southwards on Florida's west coast, and Melbourne southwards on Florida's east coast. The occasional coconut palm is seen north of these areas in favoured microclimates in Tampa and Clearwater, as well as around Cape Canaveral and Daytona Beach on the east coast. They reach fruiting maturity, but can be damaged or killed by the occasional winter freezes in these areas. In South Texas they may also be grown in favoured microclimates around the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, and as far north as Corpus Christi , however more severe cold snaps keep them from producing viable fruit.

 

AUSTRALIA

Coconuts are commonly grown around the northern coast of Australia, and in some warmer parts of New South Wales.

 

BERMUDA

Most of the tall mature coconut trees found in Bermuda were shipped to the island as seedlings on the decks of ships. In more recent years, the importation of coconuts was prohibited, therefore, a large proportion of the younger trees have been propagated from locally grown coconuts.

 

In the winter months, the growth rate of coconut trees declines due to cooler temperatures and people have commonly attributed this to the reduced yield of coconuts in comparison to tropical regions. However, whilst cooler winter temperatures may be a factor in reducing fruit production, the primary reason for the reduced yield is a lack of water. Bermuda's soil is generally very shallow (1.5 to 3 feet) and much of a coconut tree's root mass is found in the porous limestone underneath the soil. Due to the porosity of the limestone, Bermuda's coconut trees do not generally have a sufficient supply of water with which they are able to support a large number of fruit as rain water quickly drains down through the limestone layer to the water table which is far too deep for a coconut's roots to reach. This typically leads to a reduction in fruit yield (sometimes as little as one or two mature fruits) as well as a reduced milk content inside the coconut that often causes the fruit to be infertile.

 

Conversely, trees growing in close proximity to the sea almost universally yield a much greater volume of fruit as they are able to tap directly into the sea water which permeates the limestone in such areas. Not only do these trees produce a significantly higher yield, but also the fruit itself tends to be far more fertile due to the higher milk content. Trees found growing in Bermuda's marshy inland areas enjoy a similar degree of success as they are also able to tap directly into a constant supply of water.

 

EUROPE

As a tropical plant, coconut is not native to Europe, but grows in tropical territories of European countries, such as Martinique and Guadeloupe (France), the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal).

 

COOLER CLIMATES

In cooler climates (but not less than USDA Zone 9), a similar palm, the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), is used in landscaping. Its fruits are very similar to the coconut, but much smaller. The queen palm was originally classified in the genus Cocos along with the coconut, but was later reclassified in Syagrus. A recently discovered palm, Beccariophoenix alfredii from Madagascar, is nearly identical to the coconut, more so than the queen palm and can also be grown in slightly cooler climates than the coconut palm. Coconuts can only be grown in temperatures above 18 °C and need a daily temperature above 22 °C to produce fruit.

 

USES

The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the "tree of life".

 

COOKING

The various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses. The seed provides oil for frying, cooking, and making margarine. The white, fleshy part of the seed, the coconut meat, is used fresh or dried in cooking, especially in confections and desserts such as macaroons. Desiccated coconut or coconut milk made from it is frequently added to curries and other savory dishes. Coconut flour has also been developed for use in baking, to combat malnutrition. Coconut chips have been sold in the tourist regions of Hawaii and the Caribbean. Coconut butter is often used to describe solidified coconut oil, but has also been adopted as a name by certain specialty products made of coconut milk solids or puréed coconut meat and oil. Dried coconut is also used as the filling for many chocolate bars. Some dried coconut is purely coconut but others are manufactured with other ingredients, such as sugar, propylene glycol, salt, and sodium metabisulfite. Some countries in South East Asia use special coconut mutant called Kopyor (in Indonesian) or macapuno (in Philippines) as a dessert drinks.

 

NUTRITION

Per 100 gram serving with 354 calories, raw coconut meat supplies a high amount of total fat (33 grams), especially saturated fat (89% of total fat) and carbohydrates (24 grams) (table). Micronutrients in significant content include the dietary minerals, manganese, iron, phosphorus and zinc (table).

 

COCONUT WATER

Coconut water serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during its nuclear phase of development. Later, the endosperm matures and deposits onto the coconut rind during the cellular phase. It is consumed throughout the humid tropics, and has been introduced into the retail market as a processed sports drink. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young, immature coconuts, barring spoilage. Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar.

 

Per 100 gram (100 ml) serving, coconut water contains 19 calories and no significant content of essential nutrients.

 

COCONUT MILK

Coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, is obtained primarily by extracting juice by pressing the grated coconut white kernel or by passing hot water or milk through grated coconut, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It has a total fat content of 24%, most of which (89%) is saturated fat, with lauric acid as a major fatty acid. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate from the milk. The milk can be used to produce virgin coconut oil by controlled heating and removal of the oil fraction.

 

A protein-rich powder can be processed from coconut milk following centrifugation, separation and spray drying.

 

COCONUT OIL

Another byproduct of the coconut is coconut oil. It is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying. It can be used in liquid form as would other vegetable oils, or in solid form as would butter or lard.

 

TODDY AND NECTAR

The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut is drunk as neera, also known as toddy or tuba (Philippines), tuak (Indonesia and Malaysia) or karewe (fresh and not fermented, collected twice a day, for breakfast and dinner) in Kiribati. When left to ferment on its own, it becomes palm wine. Palm wine is distilled to produce arrack. In the Philippines, this alcoholic drink is called lambanog or "coconut vodka".

 

The sap can be reduced by boiling to create a sweet syrup or candy such as te kamamai in Kiribati or dhiyaa hakuru and addu bondi in the Maldives. It can be reduced further to yield coconut sugar also referred to as palm sugar or jaggery. A young, well-maintained tree can produce around 300 liters of toddy per year, while a 40-year-old tree may yield around 400 liters.

 

HEART OF PALM AND COCONUT SPROUT

Apical buds of adult plants are edible, and are known as "palm cabbage" or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy, as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads, sometimes called "millionaire's salad". Newly germinated coconuts contain an edible fluff of marshmallow-like consistency called coconut sprout, produced as the endosperm nourishes the developing embryo.

 

INDONESIA

Coconut is an indispensable ingredient in Indonesian cooking. Coconut meat, coconut milk and coconut water are often used in main courses, desserts and soups throughout the archipelago. In the island of Sumatra, the famous Rendang, the traditional beef stew from West Sumatra, chunks of beef are cooked in coconut milk along with other spices for hours until thickened. In Jakarta, "Soto Babat" or beef tripe soup also uses coconut milk. In the island of Java, the sweet and savoury "Tempe Bacem" is made by cooking tempeh with coconut water, coconut sugar and other spices until thickened. "Klapertart" is the famous Dutch-influenced dessert from Manado, North Celebes, that uses young coconut meat and coconut milk. In 2010, Indonesia increased its coconut production. It is now the world's second largest producer of coconuts. The gross production was 15 million tonnes. A sprouting coconut seed is the logo for Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia, the Indonesian Scouting organization. It can be seen on all the scouting paraphernalia that elementary (SMA) school children wear as well as on the scouting pins and flags.

 

PHILIPPINES

The Philippines is the world's largest producer of coconuts; the production of coconuts plays an important role in the economy. Coconuts in the Philippines are usually used in making main dishes, refreshments and desserts. Coconut juice is also a popular drink in the country. In the Philippines, particularly Cebu, rice is wrapped in coconut leaves for cooking and subsequent storage; these packets are called puso. Coconut milk, known as gata, and grated coconut flakes are used in the preparation of dishes such as laing, ginataan, bibingka, ube halaya, pitsi-pitsi, palitaw, buko and coconut pie. Coconut jam is made by mixing muscovado sugar with coconut milk. Coconut sport fruits are also harvested. One such variety of coconut is known as macapuno. Its meat is sweetened, cut into strands and sold in glass jars as coconut strings, sometimes labeled as "gelatinous mutant coconut". Coconut water can be fermented to make a different product - nata de coco (coconut gel).

 

VIETNAM

In Vietnam, coconut is grown abundantly across Central and Southern Vietnam, and especially in Bến Tre Province, often called the "land of the coconut". It is used to make coconut candy, caramel, and jelly. Coconut juice and coconut milk are used, especially in Vietnam's southern style of cooking, including kho, chè and curry (cà ri).

 

INDIA

In southern India, most common way of cooking vegetables is to add grated coconut and then steam them with spices fried in oil. People from southern India also make chutney, which involves grinding the coconut with salt, chillies, and whole spices. Uruttu chammanthi (granulated chutney) is eaten with rice or kanji (rice gruel). It is also invariably the main side dish served with idli, vadai, and dosai. Coconut ground with spices is also mixed in sambar and other various lunch dishes for extra taste. Dishes garnished with grated coconut are generally referred to as poduthol in North Malabar and thoran in rest of Kerala. Puttu is a culinary delicacy of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, in which layers of coconut alternate with layers of powdered rice, all of which fit into a bamboo stalk. Recently, this has been replaced with a steel or aluminium tube, which is then steamed over a pot. Coconut (Tamil: தேங்காய்) is regularly broken in the middle-class families in Tamil Nadu for food. Coconut meat can be eaten as a snack sweetened with jaggery or molasses. In Karnataka sweets are prepared using coconut and dry coconut "copra"., Like Kaie Obattu, Kobri mitai etc.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Chennai: iddly, medu vadai, vegetable, masala dosai, coconut chutney, sambar, and badam halwa

India, Heritage Food with Twist, Vadais with black onion & fenugreek seeds, filled with warm San Daniele Ham & scrambled egg with sautéed bell peppers; lettuce, tomato, Mozzarella di buffalo, basil & native olive oil; green papaya & rice vermicelli salad.

Vadai, also known as Vada, Wadha, Bara, Wada etc, a savoury fritter-type snack from South India, often sold as street food. Wadha can vary in shape & size, but are usually either bagel- or disc-shaped & are between 5 to 8 cm in diameter, made from daal lentils, gram flour or potato.

The bagel like Ulundu Vadai is wheel-shaped with a hole in the middle is bland & usually enjoyed with chutney or sambar.

 

God created Food,

the Devil created Cooks,

…but Women gave as Inspiration!

 

:point_right: One World one Dream,

...Danke, Xièxie 谢谢, Thanks, Gracias, Merci, Grazie, Obrigado, Arigatô, Dhanyavad, Chokrane to you & over

6,5 million visits in my photostream with countless motivating comments

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family).

 

It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. 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. 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.

 

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of "water" and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. 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; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is potable. 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 many societies that use it.

 

DESCRIPTION

PLANT

Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m 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.

 

FRUIT

Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like other fruits, it has three layers: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the "husk" of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of nontropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of a fiber, called coir, which has many traditional and commercial uses. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or "eyes" that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed.

 

A full-sized coconut weighs about 1.44 kg. It takes around 6,000 full-grown coconuts to produce a tonne of copra.

 

ROOTS

Unlike some other plants, the palm tree has neither a tap root nor root hairs, but has a fibrous root system.

 

The coconut palm root system consists of an abundance of thin roots that grow outward from the plant near the surface. Only a few of the roots penetrate deep into the soil for stability. The type of root system is known as fibrous or adventitious, and is a characteristic of grass species. Other types of large trees produce a single downward-growing tap root with a number of feeder roots growing from it.

 

Coconut palms continue to produce roots from the base of the stem throughout its life. The number of roots produced depends on the age of the tree and the environment, with more than 3,600 roots possible on a tree that's 60 to 70 years old.

 

Roots are usually less than about 3 inches in diameter and uniformly thick from the tree trunk to the root tip.

Inflorescence

 

The palm produces both the female and male flowers on the same inflorescence; thus, the palm is monoecious. Other sources use the term polygamomonoecious. The female flower is much larger than the male flower. Flowering occurs continuously. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating.

 

ETYMOLOGY

One of the earliest mentions of the coconut dates back to the One Thousand and One Nights story of Sinbad the Sailor; he is known to have bought and sold coconuts during his fifth voyage. Tenga, its Malayalam and Tamil name, was used in the detailed description of coconut found in Itinerario by Ludovico di Varthema published in 1510 and also in the later Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Even earlier, it was called nux indica, a name used by Marco Polo in 1280 while in Sumatra, taken from the Arabs who called it جوز هندي jawz hindī. Both names translate to "Indian nut". In the earliest description of the coconut palm known, given by Cosmos of Alexandria in his Topographia Christiana written about 545 AD, there is a reference to the argell tree and its drupe.

 

Historical evidence favors the European origin of the name "coconut", for no name is similar in any of the languages of India, where the Portuguese first found the fruit; and indeed Barbosa, Barros, and Garcia, in mentioning the Tamil/Malayalam name tenga, and Canarese narle, expressly say, "we call these fruits quoquos", "our people have given it the name of coco", and "that which we call coco, and the Malabars temga".

 

The OED states: "Portuguese and Spanish authors of the 16th c. agree in identifying the word with Portuguese and Spanish coco "grinning face, grin, grimace", also "bugbear, scarecrow", cognate with cocar "to grin, make a grimace"; the name being said to refer to the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its three holes. According to Losada, the name came from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The coconut shell reminded them of a ghost or witch in Portuguese folklore called coco (also côca). The first known recorded usage of the term is 1555.

 

The specific name nucifera is Latin for "nut-bearing".

Origin, domestication, and dispersal

 

ORIGIN

The origin of the plant is the subject of debate. O.F. Cook was one of the earliest modern researchers to draw conclusions about the location of origin of Cocos nucifera based on its current-day worldwide distribution. He hypothesized that the coconut originated in the Americas, based on his belief that American coconut populations predated European contact and because he considered pan-tropical distribution by ocean currents improbable. Thor Heyerdahl later used this hypothesis of the American origin of the coconut to support his theory that the Pacific Islanders originated in South America. However, more evidence exists for an Indo-Pacific origin either around Melanesia and Malesia or the Indian Ocean. The oldest fossils known of the modern coconut dating from the Eocene period from around 37 to 55 million years ago were found in Australia and India. However, older palm fossils such as some of nipa fruit have been found in the Americas. Since 1978, the work on tracing the probable origin and dispersal of Cocos nucifera has only recently been augmented by a publication on the germination rate of the coconut seednut and another on the importance of the coral atoll ecosystem. Briefly, the coconut originated in the coral atoll ecosystem — without human intervention — and required a thick husk and slow germination to survive and disperse.

 

DOMESTICATION

Coconuts could not reach inland locations without human intervention (to carry seednuts, plant seedlings, etc.) and it was early germination on the palm (vivipary) that was important, rather than increasing the number or size of the edible parts of a fruit that was already large enough. Human cultivation of the coconut selected, not for larger size, but for thinner husks and increased volume of endosperm, the solid “meat” or liquid “water” that provides the fruit its food value. Although these modifications for domestication would reduce the fruit’s ability to float, this ability would be irrelevant to a cultivated population.

 

Among modern C. nucifera, two major types or variants: a thick-husked, angular fruit and a thin-husked, spherical fruit with a higher proportion of endosperm reflect a trend of cultivation in C. nucifera: the first coconuts were of the niu kafa type, with thick husks to protect the seed, an angular, highly ridged shape to promote buoyancy during ocean dispersal, and a pointed base that allowed fruits to dig into the sand, preventing them from being washed away during germination on a new island. As early human communities began to harvest coconuts for eating and planting, they (perhaps unintentionally) selected for a larger endosperm to husk ratio and a broader, spherical base, which rendered the fruit useful as a cup or bowl, thus creating the niu vai type. The decreased buoyancy and increased fragility of this spherical, thin-husked fruit would not matter for a species that had started to be dispersed by humans and grown in plantations. Harries’ adoption of the Polynesian terms niu kafa and niu vai has now passed into general scientific discourse, and his hypothesis is generally accepted.

 

Variants of C. nucifera are also categorized as Tall (var. typica) or Dwarf (var. nana). The two groups are genetically distinct, with the Dwarf variety showing a greater degree of artificial selection for ornamental traits and for early germination and fruiting. The Tall variety is outcrossing while Dwarf palms are incrossing, which has led to a much greater degree of genetic diversity within the Tall group. It is believed that the Dwarf subgroup mutated from the Tall group under human selection pressure.

 

DISPERSAL

It is often stated that coconuts can travel 110 days, or 4,800 km, by sea and still be able to germinate. This figure has been questioned based on the extremely small sample size that forms the basis of the paper that makes this claim. Thor Heyerdahl provides an alternative, and much shorter, estimate based on his first-hand experience crossing the Pacific Ocean on the raft Kon-Tiki: "The nuts we had in baskets on deck remained edible and capable of germinating the whole way to Polynesia. But we had laid about half among the special provisions below deck, with the waves washing around them. Every single one of these was ruined by the sea water. And no coconut can float over the sea faster than a balsa raft moves with the wind behind it." He also notes that several of the nuts began to germinate by the time they had been ten weeks at sea, precluding an unassisted journey of 100 days or more. However, it is more than likely that the coconut variety Heyerdahl chose for his long sea voyage was of the large, fleshy, spherical niu vai type, which Harries observed to have a significantly shorter germination type and worse buoyancy than the uncultivated niu kafa type. Therefore, Heyerdahl’s observations cannot be considered conclusive when it comes to determining the independent dispersal ability of the uncultivated coconut.

 

Drift models based on wind and ocean currents have shown that coconuts could not have drifted across the Pacific unaided. This provides some circumstantial evidence that Austronesian peoples carried coconuts across the ocean and that they could not have dispersed worldwide without human agency. More recently, genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) has shed light on the movements of Austronesian peoples. By examining 10 microsatellite loci, researchers found two genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut - one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, admixture, the transfer of genetic material, evidently occurred between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, individuals from one population possibly could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to Madagascar and coastal east Africa, and exclude the Seychelles. This pattern coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, a genetically distinct subpopulation of coconut on the Pacific coast of Latin America has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect; however, its ancestral population is the Pacific coconut. This, together with their use of the South American sweet potato, suggests that Austronesian peoples may have sailed as far east as the Americas.

 

DISTRIBUTION

The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild are light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. Specimens have been collected from the sea as far north as Norway. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in Oceania. They have been found in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America for less than 500 years, but evidence of their presence on the Pacific coast of South America predates Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. They are now almost ubiquitous between 26°N and 26°S except for the interiors of Africa and South America.

  

NATURAL HABITAT

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity (70–80%+) for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity. However, they can be found in humid areas with low annual precipitation such as in Karachi, Pakistan, which receives only about 250 mm of rainfall per year, but is consistently warm and humid.

 

Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather. Some seasonal variation is tolerated, with good growth where mean summer temperatures are between 28 and 37 °C, and survival as long as winter temperatures are above 4–12 °C; they will survive brief drops to 0 °C. Severe frost is usually fatal, although they have been known to recover from temperatures of −4 °C. They may grow but not fruit properly in areas with insufficient warmth, such as Bermuda.

 

The conditions required for coconut trees to grow without any care are:

 

- Mean daily temperature above 12–13 °C every day of the year

- Mean annual rainfall above 1000 mm

- No or very little overhead canopy, since even small trees require direct sun

 

The main limiting factor for most locations which satisfy the rainfall and temperature requirements is canopy growth, except those locations near coastlines, where the sandy soil and salt spray limit the growth of most other trees.

 

DISEASES

Coconuts are susceptible to the phytoplasma disease lethal yellowing. One recently selected cultivar, the Maypan, has been bred for resistance to this disease.

 

PESTS

The coconut palm is damaged by the larvae of many Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species which feed on it, including Batrachedra spp.: B. arenosella, B. atriloqua (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), B. mathesoni (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), and B. nuciferae.

 

Brontispa longissima (coconut leaf beetle) feeds on young leaves, and damages both seedlings and mature coconut palms. In 2007, the Philippines imposed a quarantine in Metro Manila and 26 provinces to stop the spread of the pest and protect the $800 million Philippine coconut industry.

 

The fruit may also be damaged by eriophyid coconut mites (Eriophyes guerreronis). This mite infests coconut plantations, and is devastating: it can destroy up to 90% of coconut production. The immature seeds are infested and desapped by larvae staying in the portion covered by the perianth of the immature seed; the seeds then drop off or survive deformed. Spraying with wettable sulfur 0.4% or with neem-based pesticides can give some relief, but is cumbersome and labor-intensive.

 

In Kerala (India), the main coconut pests are the coconut mite, the rhinoceros beetle, the red palm weevil and the coconut leaf caterpillar. Research into countermeasures to these pests has as of 2009 yielded no results; researchers from the Kerala Agricultural University and the Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasaragode continue to work on countermeasures. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has developed an innovative extension approach called the compact area group approach (CAGA) to combat coconut mites.

 

PRODUCTION AND CULTIVATION

Coconut palms are grown in more than 90 countries of the world, with a total production of 62 million tonnes per year (table). Most of the world production is in tropical Asia, with Indonesia, the Philippines and India accounting collectively for 73% of the world total (table).

 

CULTIVATION

Coconut trees are hard to establish in dry climates, and cannot grow there without frequent irrigation; in drought conditions, the new leaves do not open well, and older leaves may become desiccated; fruit also tends to be shed.

 

The extent of cultivation in the tropics is threatening a number of habitats, such as mangroves; an example of such damage to an ecoregion is in the Petenes mangroves of the Yucatán.

 

HARVESTING

In some parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia), trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. Training schools for pig-tailed macaques still exist both in southern Thailand and in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. Competitions are held each year to find the fastest harvester.

 

INDIA

Traditional areas of coconut cultivation in India are the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar. As per 2013-14 statistics from Coconut Development Board of Government of India, four southern states combined account for almost 92% of the total production in the country: Tamil Nadu (31.93%), Kerala (27.54%), Karnataka (23.26%), and Andhra Pradesh (8.43%). Other states, such as Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and those in the northeast (Tripura and Assam) account for the remaining productions. Though Kerala has the largest number of coconut trees, in terms of production per hectare, Tamil Nadu leads all other states. In Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore and Tirupur regions top the production list.

 

Various terms, such as copra and coir, are derived from the native Malayalam language. In Kerala, the coconut tree is called "Thengu" also termed as kalpa vriksham, which essentially means all parts of a coconut tree is useful some way or other. In Tamil Nadu, a coconut tree is called as "Thennai maram" and tender coconut is called as "Ilaneer" in the native language.

 

MALDIVES

The coconut is the national tree of the Maldives and is considered the most important plant in the country. A coconut tree is also included in the country's national emblem or coat of arms. Coconut trees are grown on all the islands. Before modern construction methods were introduced, coconut leaves were used as roofing material for many houses in the islands, while coconut timber was used to build houses and boats.

 

MIDDLE EAST

The main coconut-producing area in the Middle East is the Dhofar region of Oman, but they can be grown all along the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea coasts, because these seas are tropical and provide enough humidity (through seawater evaporation) for coconut trees to grow. The young coconut plants need to be nursed and irrigated with drip pipes until they are old enough (stem bulb development) to be irrigated with brackish water or seawater alone, after which they can be replanted on the beaches. In particular, the area around Salalah maintains large coconut plantations similar to those found across the Arabian Sea in Kerala. The reasons why coconut are cultivated only in Yemen's Al Mahrah and Hadramaut governorates and in the Sultanate of Oman, but not in other suitable areas in the Arabian Peninsula, may originate from the fact that Oman and Hadramaut had long dhow trade relations with Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Africa and Zanzibar, as well as southern India and China. Omani people needed the coir rope from the coconut fiber to stitch together their traditional high seas-going dhow vessels in which nails were never used. The 'know how' of coconut cultivation and necessary soil fixation and irrigation may have found its way into Omani, Hadrami and Al-Mahra culture by people who returned from those overseas areas.

 

The coconut cultivars grown in Oman are generally of the drought-resistant Indian "West Coast tall" (WC Tall) variety. Unlike the UAE, which grows mostly non-native dwarf or hybrid coconut cultivars imported from Florida for ornamental purposes, the slender, tall Omani coconut cultivars are relatively well-adapted to the Middle East's hot dry seasons, but need longer to reach maturity. The Middle East's hot, dry climate favors the development of coconut mites, which cause immature seed dropping and may cause brownish-gray discoloration on the coconut's outer green fiber.

 

The ancient coconut groves of Dhofar were mentioned by the medieval Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta in his writings, known as Al Rihla.[52] The annual rainy season known locally as Khareef or monsoon makes coconut cultivation easy on the Arabian east coast.

 

Coconut trees also are increasingly grown for decorative purposes along the coasts of the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the help of irrigation. The UAE has, however, imposed strict laws on mature coconut tree imports from other countries to reduce the spread of pests to other native palm trees, as the mixing of date and coconut trees poses a risk of cross-species palm pests, such as rhinoceros beetles and red palm weevils. The artificial landscaping adopted in Florida may have been the cause for lethal yellowing, a viral coconut palm disease that leads to the death of the tree. It is spread by host insects, that thrive on heavy turf grasses. Therefore, heavy turf grass environments (beach resorts and golf courses) also pose a major threat to local coconut trees. Traditionally, dessert banana plants and local wild beach flora such as Scaevola taccada and Ipomoea pes-caprae were used as humidity-supplying green undergrowth for coconut trees, mixed with sea almond and sea hibiscus. Due to growing sedentary life styles and heavy-handed landscaping, there has been a decline in these traditional farming and soil-fixing techniques.

 

SRI LANKA

An early mention of the planting of coconuts is found in the Mahavamsa during the reign of Agrabodhi II around 589 AD. Coconuts are common in the Sri Lankan diet and the main source of dietary fat.

 

UNITED STATES

In the United States coconut palms can be grown and reproduced outdoors without irrigation in Hawaii, southern and central Florida, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

In Florida, Coconut palms will grow from coastal Pinellas County and St. Petersburg southwards on Florida's west coast, and Melbourne southwards on Florida's east coast. The occasional coconut palm is seen north of these areas in favoured microclimates in Tampa and Clearwater, as well as around Cape Canaveral and Daytona Beach on the east coast. They reach fruiting maturity, but can be damaged or killed by the occasional winter freezes in these areas. In South Texas they may also be grown in favoured microclimates around the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, and as far north as Corpus Christi , however more severe cold snaps keep them from producing viable fruit.

 

AUSTRALIA

Coconuts are commonly grown around the northern coast of Australia, and in some warmer parts of New South Wales.

 

BERMUDA

Most of the tall mature coconut trees found in Bermuda were shipped to the island as seedlings on the decks of ships. In more recent years, the importation of coconuts was prohibited, therefore, a large proportion of the younger trees have been propagated from locally grown coconuts.

 

In the winter months, the growth rate of coconut trees declines due to cooler temperatures and people have commonly attributed this to the reduced yield of coconuts in comparison to tropical regions. However, whilst cooler winter temperatures may be a factor in reducing fruit production, the primary reason for the reduced yield is a lack of water. Bermuda's soil is generally very shallow (1.5 to 3 feet) and much of a coconut tree's root mass is found in the porous limestone underneath the soil. Due to the porosity of the limestone, Bermuda's coconut trees do not generally have a sufficient supply of water with which they are able to support a large number of fruit as rain water quickly drains down through the limestone layer to the water table which is far too deep for a coconut's roots to reach. This typically leads to a reduction in fruit yield (sometimes as little as one or two mature fruits) as well as a reduced milk content inside the coconut that often causes the fruit to be infertile.

 

Conversely, trees growing in close proximity to the sea almost universally yield a much greater volume of fruit as they are able to tap directly into the sea water which permeates the limestone in such areas. Not only do these trees produce a significantly higher yield, but also the fruit itself tends to be far more fertile due to the higher milk content. Trees found growing in Bermuda's marshy inland areas enjoy a similar degree of success as they are also able to tap directly into a constant supply of water.

 

EUROPE

As a tropical plant, coconut is not native to Europe, but grows in tropical territories of European countries, such as Martinique and Guadeloupe (France), the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal).

 

COOLER CLIMATES

In cooler climates (but not less than USDA Zone 9), a similar palm, the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), is used in landscaping. Its fruits are very similar to the coconut, but much smaller. The queen palm was originally classified in the genus Cocos along with the coconut, but was later reclassified in Syagrus. A recently discovered palm, Beccariophoenix alfredii from Madagascar, is nearly identical to the coconut, more so than the queen palm and can also be grown in slightly cooler climates than the coconut palm. Coconuts can only be grown in temperatures above 18 °C and need a daily temperature above 22 °C to produce fruit.

 

USES

The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the "tree of life".

 

COOKING

The various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses. The seed provides oil for frying, cooking, and making margarine. The white, fleshy part of the seed, the coconut meat, is used fresh or dried in cooking, especially in confections and desserts such as macaroons. Desiccated coconut or coconut milk made from it is frequently added to curries and other savory dishes. Coconut flour has also been developed for use in baking, to combat malnutrition. Coconut chips have been sold in the tourist regions of Hawaii and the Caribbean. Coconut butter is often used to describe solidified coconut oil, but has also been adopted as a name by certain specialty products made of coconut milk solids or puréed coconut meat and oil. Dried coconut is also used as the filling for many chocolate bars. Some dried coconut is purely coconut but others are manufactured with other ingredients, such as sugar, propylene glycol, salt, and sodium metabisulfite. Some countries in South East Asia use special coconut mutant called Kopyor (in Indonesian) or macapuno (in Philippines) as a dessert drinks.

 

NUTRITION

Per 100 gram serving with 354 calories, raw coconut meat supplies a high amount of total fat (33 grams), especially saturated fat (89% of total fat) and carbohydrates (24 grams) (table). Micronutrients in significant content include the dietary minerals, manganese, iron, phosphorus and zinc (table).

 

COCONUT WATER

Coconut water serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during its nuclear phase of development. Later, the endosperm matures and deposits onto the coconut rind during the cellular phase. It is consumed throughout the humid tropics, and has been introduced into the retail market as a processed sports drink. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young, immature coconuts, barring spoilage. Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar.

 

Per 100 gram (100 ml) serving, coconut water contains 19 calories and no significant content of essential nutrients.

 

COCONUT MILK

Coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, is obtained primarily by extracting juice by pressing the grated coconut white kernel or by passing hot water or milk through grated coconut, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It has a total fat content of 24%, most of which (89%) is saturated fat, with lauric acid as a major fatty acid. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate from the milk. The milk can be used to produce virgin coconut oil by controlled heating and removal of the oil fraction.

 

A protein-rich powder can be processed from coconut milk following centrifugation, separation and spray drying.

 

COCONUT OIL

Another byproduct of the coconut is coconut oil. It is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying. It can be used in liquid form as would other vegetable oils, or in solid form as would butter or lard.

 

TODDY AND NECTAR

The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut is drunk as neera, also known as toddy or tuba (Philippines), tuak (Indonesia and Malaysia) or karewe (fresh and not fermented, collected twice a day, for breakfast and dinner) in Kiribati. When left to ferment on its own, it becomes palm wine. Palm wine is distilled to produce arrack. In the Philippines, this alcoholic drink is called lambanog or "coconut vodka".

 

The sap can be reduced by boiling to create a sweet syrup or candy such as te kamamai in Kiribati or dhiyaa hakuru and addu bondi in the Maldives. It can be reduced further to yield coconut sugar also referred to as palm sugar or jaggery. A young, well-maintained tree can produce around 300 liters of toddy per year, while a 40-year-old tree may yield around 400 liters.

 

HEART OF PALM AND COCONUT SPROUT

Apical buds of adult plants are edible, and are known as "palm cabbage" or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy, as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads, sometimes called "millionaire's salad". Newly germinated coconuts contain an edible fluff of marshmallow-like consistency called coconut sprout, produced as the endosperm nourishes the developing embryo.

 

INDONESIA

Coconut is an indispensable ingredient in Indonesian cooking. Coconut meat, coconut milk and coconut water are often used in main courses, desserts and soups throughout the archipelago. In the island of Sumatra, the famous Rendang, the traditional beef stew from West Sumatra, chunks of beef are cooked in coconut milk along with other spices for hours until thickened. In Jakarta, "Soto Babat" or beef tripe soup also uses coconut milk. In the island of Java, the sweet and savoury "Tempe Bacem" is made by cooking tempeh with coconut water, coconut sugar and other spices until thickened. "Klapertart" is the famous Dutch-influenced dessert from Manado, North Celebes, that uses young coconut meat and coconut milk. In 2010, Indonesia increased its coconut production. It is now the world's second largest producer of coconuts. The gross production was 15 million tonnes. A sprouting coconut seed is the logo for Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia, the Indonesian Scouting organization. It can be seen on all the scouting paraphernalia that elementary (SMA) school children wear as well as on the scouting pins and flags.

 

PHILIPPINES

The Philippines is the world's largest producer of coconuts; the production of coconuts plays an important role in the economy. Coconuts in the Philippines are usually used in making main dishes, refreshments and desserts. Coconut juice is also a popular drink in the country. In the Philippines, particularly Cebu, rice is wrapped in coconut leaves for cooking and subsequent storage; these packets are called puso. Coconut milk, known as gata, and grated coconut flakes are used in the preparation of dishes such as laing, ginataan, bibingka, ube halaya, pitsi-pitsi, palitaw, buko and coconut pie. Coconut jam is made by mixing muscovado sugar with coconut milk. Coconut sport fruits are also harvested. One such variety of coconut is known as macapuno. Its meat is sweetened, cut into strands and sold in glass jars as coconut strings, sometimes labeled as "gelatinous mutant coconut". Coconut water can be fermented to make a different product - nata de coco (coconut gel).

 

VIETNAM

In Vietnam, coconut is grown abundantly across Central and Southern Vietnam, and especially in Bến Tre Province, often called the "land of the coconut". It is used to make coconut candy, caramel, and jelly. Coconut juice and coconut milk are used, especially in Vietnam's southern style of cooking, including kho, chè and curry (cà ri).

 

INDIA

In southern India, most common way of cooking vegetables is to add grated coconut and then steam them with spices fried in oil. People from southern India also make chutney, which involves grinding the coconut with salt, chillies, and whole spices. Uruttu chammanthi (granulated chutney) is eaten with rice or kanji (rice gruel). It is also invariably the main side dish served with idli, vadai, and dosai. Coconut ground with spices is also mixed in sambar and other various lunch dishes for extra taste. Dishes garnished with grated coconut are generally referred to as poduthol in North Malabar and thoran in rest of Kerala. Puttu is a culinary delicacy of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, in which layers of coconut alternate with layers of powdered rice, all of which fit into a bamboo stalk. Recently, this has been replaced with a steel or aluminium tube, which is then steamed over a pot. Coconut (Tamil: தேங்காய்) is regularly broken in the middle-class families in Tamil Nadu for food. Coconut meat can be eaten as a snack sweetened with jaggery or molasses. In Karnataka sweets are prepared using coconut and dry coconut "copra"., Like Kaie Obattu, Kobri mitai etc.

 

WIKIPEDIA

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family).

 

It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. 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. 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.

 

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of "water" and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. 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; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is potable. 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 many societies that use it.

 

DESCRIPTION

PLANT

Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m 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.

 

FRUIT

Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like other fruits, it has three layers: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the "husk" of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of nontropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of a fiber, called coir, which has many traditional and commercial uses. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or "eyes" that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed.

 

A full-sized coconut weighs about 1.44 kg. It takes around 6,000 full-grown coconuts to produce a tonne of copra.

 

ROOTS

Unlike some other plants, the palm tree has neither a tap root nor root hairs, but has a fibrous root system.

 

The coconut palm root system consists of an abundance of thin roots that grow outward from the plant near the surface. Only a few of the roots penetrate deep into the soil for stability. The type of root system is known as fibrous or adventitious, and is a characteristic of grass species. Other types of large trees produce a single downward-growing tap root with a number of feeder roots growing from it.

 

Coconut palms continue to produce roots from the base of the stem throughout its life. The number of roots produced depends on the age of the tree and the environment, with more than 3,600 roots possible on a tree that's 60 to 70 years old.

 

Roots are usually less than about 3 inches in diameter and uniformly thick from the tree trunk to the root tip.

Inflorescence

 

The palm produces both the female and male flowers on the same inflorescence; thus, the palm is monoecious. Other sources use the term polygamomonoecious. The female flower is much larger than the male flower. Flowering occurs continuously. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating.

 

ETYMOLOGY

One of the earliest mentions of the coconut dates back to the One Thousand and One Nights story of Sinbad the Sailor; he is known to have bought and sold coconuts during his fifth voyage. Tenga, its Malayalam and Tamil name, was used in the detailed description of coconut found in Itinerario by Ludovico di Varthema published in 1510 and also in the later Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Even earlier, it was called nux indica, a name used by Marco Polo in 1280 while in Sumatra, taken from the Arabs who called it جوز هندي jawz hindī. Both names translate to "Indian nut". In the earliest description of the coconut palm known, given by Cosmos of Alexandria in his Topographia Christiana written about 545 AD, there is a reference to the argell tree and its drupe.

 

Historical evidence favors the European origin of the name "coconut", for no name is similar in any of the languages of India, where the Portuguese first found the fruit; and indeed Barbosa, Barros, and Garcia, in mentioning the Tamil/Malayalam name tenga, and Canarese narle, expressly say, "we call these fruits quoquos", "our people have given it the name of coco", and "that which we call coco, and the Malabars temga".

 

The OED states: "Portuguese and Spanish authors of the 16th c. agree in identifying the word with Portuguese and Spanish coco "grinning face, grin, grimace", also "bugbear, scarecrow", cognate with cocar "to grin, make a grimace"; the name being said to refer to the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its three holes. According to Losada, the name came from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The coconut shell reminded them of a ghost or witch in Portuguese folklore called coco (also côca). The first known recorded usage of the term is 1555.

 

The specific name nucifera is Latin for "nut-bearing".

Origin, domestication, and dispersal

 

ORIGIN

The origin of the plant is the subject of debate. O.F. Cook was one of the earliest modern researchers to draw conclusions about the location of origin of Cocos nucifera based on its current-day worldwide distribution. He hypothesized that the coconut originated in the Americas, based on his belief that American coconut populations predated European contact and because he considered pan-tropical distribution by ocean currents improbable. Thor Heyerdahl later used this hypothesis of the American origin of the coconut to support his theory that the Pacific Islanders originated in South America. However, more evidence exists for an Indo-Pacific origin either around Melanesia and Malesia or the Indian Ocean. The oldest fossils known of the modern coconut dating from the Eocene period from around 37 to 55 million years ago were found in Australia and India. However, older palm fossils such as some of nipa fruit have been found in the Americas. Since 1978, the work on tracing the probable origin and dispersal of Cocos nucifera has only recently been augmented by a publication on the germination rate of the coconut seednut and another on the importance of the coral atoll ecosystem. Briefly, the coconut originated in the coral atoll ecosystem — without human intervention — and required a thick husk and slow germination to survive and disperse.

 

DOMESTICATION

Coconuts could not reach inland locations without human intervention (to carry seednuts, plant seedlings, etc.) and it was early germination on the palm (vivipary) that was important, rather than increasing the number or size of the edible parts of a fruit that was already large enough. Human cultivation of the coconut selected, not for larger size, but for thinner husks and increased volume of endosperm, the solid “meat” or liquid “water” that provides the fruit its food value. Although these modifications for domestication would reduce the fruit’s ability to float, this ability would be irrelevant to a cultivated population.

 

Among modern C. nucifera, two major types or variants: a thick-husked, angular fruit and a thin-husked, spherical fruit with a higher proportion of endosperm reflect a trend of cultivation in C. nucifera: the first coconuts were of the niu kafa type, with thick husks to protect the seed, an angular, highly ridged shape to promote buoyancy during ocean dispersal, and a pointed base that allowed fruits to dig into the sand, preventing them from being washed away during germination on a new island. As early human communities began to harvest coconuts for eating and planting, they (perhaps unintentionally) selected for a larger endosperm to husk ratio and a broader, spherical base, which rendered the fruit useful as a cup or bowl, thus creating the niu vai type. The decreased buoyancy and increased fragility of this spherical, thin-husked fruit would not matter for a species that had started to be dispersed by humans and grown in plantations. Harries’ adoption of the Polynesian terms niu kafa and niu vai has now passed into general scientific discourse, and his hypothesis is generally accepted.

 

Variants of C. nucifera are also categorized as Tall (var. typica) or Dwarf (var. nana). The two groups are genetically distinct, with the Dwarf variety showing a greater degree of artificial selection for ornamental traits and for early germination and fruiting. The Tall variety is outcrossing while Dwarf palms are incrossing, which has led to a much greater degree of genetic diversity within the Tall group. It is believed that the Dwarf subgroup mutated from the Tall group under human selection pressure.

 

DISPERSAL

It is often stated that coconuts can travel 110 days, or 4,800 km, by sea and still be able to germinate. This figure has been questioned based on the extremely small sample size that forms the basis of the paper that makes this claim. Thor Heyerdahl provides an alternative, and much shorter, estimate based on his first-hand experience crossing the Pacific Ocean on the raft Kon-Tiki: "The nuts we had in baskets on deck remained edible and capable of germinating the whole way to Polynesia. But we had laid about half among the special provisions below deck, with the waves washing around them. Every single one of these was ruined by the sea water. And no coconut can float over the sea faster than a balsa raft moves with the wind behind it." He also notes that several of the nuts began to germinate by the time they had been ten weeks at sea, precluding an unassisted journey of 100 days or more. However, it is more than likely that the coconut variety Heyerdahl chose for his long sea voyage was of the large, fleshy, spherical niu vai type, which Harries observed to have a significantly shorter germination type and worse buoyancy than the uncultivated niu kafa type. Therefore, Heyerdahl’s observations cannot be considered conclusive when it comes to determining the independent dispersal ability of the uncultivated coconut.

 

Drift models based on wind and ocean currents have shown that coconuts could not have drifted across the Pacific unaided. This provides some circumstantial evidence that Austronesian peoples carried coconuts across the ocean and that they could not have dispersed worldwide without human agency. More recently, genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) has shed light on the movements of Austronesian peoples. By examining 10 microsatellite loci, researchers found two genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut - one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, admixture, the transfer of genetic material, evidently occurred between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, individuals from one population possibly could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to Madagascar and coastal east Africa, and exclude the Seychelles. This pattern coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, a genetically distinct subpopulation of coconut on the Pacific coast of Latin America has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect; however, its ancestral population is the Pacific coconut. This, together with their use of the South American sweet potato, suggests that Austronesian peoples may have sailed as far east as the Americas.

 

DISTRIBUTION

The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild are light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. Specimens have been collected from the sea as far north as Norway. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in Oceania. They have been found in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America for less than 500 years, but evidence of their presence on the Pacific coast of South America predates Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. They are now almost ubiquitous between 26°N and 26°S except for the interiors of Africa and South America.

  

NATURAL HABITAT

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity (70–80%+) for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity. However, they can be found in humid areas with low annual precipitation such as in Karachi, Pakistan, which receives only about 250 mm of rainfall per year, but is consistently warm and humid.

 

Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather. Some seasonal variation is tolerated, with good growth where mean summer temperatures are between 28 and 37 °C, and survival as long as winter temperatures are above 4–12 °C; they will survive brief drops to 0 °C. Severe frost is usually fatal, although they have been known to recover from temperatures of −4 °C. They may grow but not fruit properly in areas with insufficient warmth, such as Bermuda.

 

The conditions required for coconut trees to grow without any care are:

 

- Mean daily temperature above 12–13 °C every day of the year

- Mean annual rainfall above 1000 mm

- No or very little overhead canopy, since even small trees require direct sun

 

The main limiting factor for most locations which satisfy the rainfall and temperature requirements is canopy growth, except those locations near coastlines, where the sandy soil and salt spray limit the growth of most other trees.

 

DISEASES

Coconuts are susceptible to the phytoplasma disease lethal yellowing. One recently selected cultivar, the Maypan, has been bred for resistance to this disease.

 

PESTS

The coconut palm is damaged by the larvae of many Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species which feed on it, including Batrachedra spp.: B. arenosella, B. atriloqua (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), B. mathesoni (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), and B. nuciferae.

 

Brontispa longissima (coconut leaf beetle) feeds on young leaves, and damages both seedlings and mature coconut palms. In 2007, the Philippines imposed a quarantine in Metro Manila and 26 provinces to stop the spread of the pest and protect the $800 million Philippine coconut industry.

 

The fruit may also be damaged by eriophyid coconut mites (Eriophyes guerreronis). This mite infests coconut plantations, and is devastating: it can destroy up to 90% of coconut production. The immature seeds are infested and desapped by larvae staying in the portion covered by the perianth of the immature seed; the seeds then drop off or survive deformed. Spraying with wettable sulfur 0.4% or with neem-based pesticides can give some relief, but is cumbersome and labor-intensive.

 

In Kerala (India), the main coconut pests are the coconut mite, the rhinoceros beetle, the red palm weevil and the coconut leaf caterpillar. Research into countermeasures to these pests has as of 2009 yielded no results; researchers from the Kerala Agricultural University and the Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasaragode continue to work on countermeasures. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has developed an innovative extension approach called the compact area group approach (CAGA) to combat coconut mites.

 

PRODUCTION AND CULTIVATION

Coconut palms are grown in more than 90 countries of the world, with a total production of 62 million tonnes per year (table). Most of the world production is in tropical Asia, with Indonesia, the Philippines and India accounting collectively for 73% of the world total (table).

 

CULTIVATION

Coconut trees are hard to establish in dry climates, and cannot grow there without frequent irrigation; in drought conditions, the new leaves do not open well, and older leaves may become desiccated; fruit also tends to be shed.

 

The extent of cultivation in the tropics is threatening a number of habitats, such as mangroves; an example of such damage to an ecoregion is in the Petenes mangroves of the Yucatán.

 

HARVESTING

In some parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia), trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. Training schools for pig-tailed macaques still exist both in southern Thailand and in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. Competitions are held each year to find the fastest harvester.

 

INDIA

Traditional areas of coconut cultivation in India are the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar. As per 2013-14 statistics from Coconut Development Board of Government of India, four southern states combined account for almost 92% of the total production in the country: Tamil Nadu (31.93%), Kerala (27.54%), Karnataka (23.26%), and Andhra Pradesh (8.43%). Other states, such as Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and those in the northeast (Tripura and Assam) account for the remaining productions. Though Kerala has the largest number of coconut trees, in terms of production per hectare, Tamil Nadu leads all other states. In Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore and Tirupur regions top the production list.

 

Various terms, such as copra and coir, are derived from the native Malayalam language. In Kerala, the coconut tree is called "Thengu" also termed as kalpa vriksham, which essentially means all parts of a coconut tree is useful some way or other. In Tamil Nadu, a coconut tree is called as "Thennai maram" and tender coconut is called as "Ilaneer" in the native language.

 

MALDIVES

The coconut is the national tree of the Maldives and is considered the most important plant in the country. A coconut tree is also included in the country's national emblem or coat of arms. Coconut trees are grown on all the islands. Before modern construction methods were introduced, coconut leaves were used as roofing material for many houses in the islands, while coconut timber was used to build houses and boats.

 

MIDDLE EAST

The main coconut-producing area in the Middle East is the Dhofar region of Oman, but they can be grown all along the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea coasts, because these seas are tropical and provide enough humidity (through seawater evaporation) for coconut trees to grow. The young coconut plants need to be nursed and irrigated with drip pipes until they are old enough (stem bulb development) to be irrigated with brackish water or seawater alone, after which they can be replanted on the beaches. In particular, the area around Salalah maintains large coconut plantations similar to those found across the Arabian Sea in Kerala. The reasons why coconut are cultivated only in Yemen's Al Mahrah and Hadramaut governorates and in the Sultanate of Oman, but not in other suitable areas in the Arabian Peninsula, may originate from the fact that Oman and Hadramaut had long dhow trade relations with Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Africa and Zanzibar, as well as southern India and China. Omani people needed the coir rope from the coconut fiber to stitch together their traditional high seas-going dhow vessels in which nails were never used. The 'know how' of coconut cultivation and necessary soil fixation and irrigation may have found its way into Omani, Hadrami and Al-Mahra culture by people who returned from those overseas areas.

 

The coconut cultivars grown in Oman are generally of the drought-resistant Indian "West Coast tall" (WC Tall) variety. Unlike the UAE, which grows mostly non-native dwarf or hybrid coconut cultivars imported from Florida for ornamental purposes, the slender, tall Omani coconut cultivars are relatively well-adapted to the Middle East's hot dry seasons, but need longer to reach maturity. The Middle East's hot, dry climate favors the development of coconut mites, which cause immature seed dropping and may cause brownish-gray discoloration on the coconut's outer green fiber.

 

The ancient coconut groves of Dhofar were mentioned by the medieval Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta in his writings, known as Al Rihla.[52] The annual rainy season known locally as Khareef or monsoon makes coconut cultivation easy on the Arabian east coast.

 

Coconut trees also are increasingly grown for decorative purposes along the coasts of the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the help of irrigation. The UAE has, however, imposed strict laws on mature coconut tree imports from other countries to reduce the spread of pests to other native palm trees, as the mixing of date and coconut trees poses a risk of cross-species palm pests, such as rhinoceros beetles and red palm weevils. The artificial landscaping adopted in Florida may have been the cause for lethal yellowing, a viral coconut palm disease that leads to the death of the tree. It is spread by host insects, that thrive on heavy turf grasses. Therefore, heavy turf grass environments (beach resorts and golf courses) also pose a major threat to local coconut trees. Traditionally, dessert banana plants and local wild beach flora such as Scaevola taccada and Ipomoea pes-caprae were used as humidity-supplying green undergrowth for coconut trees, mixed with sea almond and sea hibiscus. Due to growing sedentary life styles and heavy-handed landscaping, there has been a decline in these traditional farming and soil-fixing techniques.

 

SRI LANKA

An early mention of the planting of coconuts is found in the Mahavamsa during the reign of Agrabodhi II around 589 AD. Coconuts are common in the Sri Lankan diet and the main source of dietary fat.

 

UNITED STATES

In the United States coconut palms can be grown and reproduced outdoors without irrigation in Hawaii, southern and central Florida, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

In Florida, Coconut palms will grow from coastal Pinellas County and St. Petersburg southwards on Florida's west coast, and Melbourne southwards on Florida's east coast. The occasional coconut palm is seen north of these areas in favoured microclimates in Tampa and Clearwater, as well as around Cape Canaveral and Daytona Beach on the east coast. They reach fruiting maturity, but can be damaged or killed by the occasional winter freezes in these areas. In South Texas they may also be grown in favoured microclimates around the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, and as far north as Corpus Christi , however more severe cold snaps keep them from producing viable fruit.

 

AUSTRALIA

Coconuts are commonly grown around the northern coast of Australia, and in some warmer parts of New South Wales.

 

BERMUDA

Most of the tall mature coconut trees found in Bermuda were shipped to the island as seedlings on the decks of ships. In more recent years, the importation of coconuts was prohibited, therefore, a large proportion of the younger trees have been propagated from locally grown coconuts.

 

In the winter months, the growth rate of coconut trees declines due to cooler temperatures and people have commonly attributed this to the reduced yield of coconuts in comparison to tropical regions. However, whilst cooler winter temperatures may be a factor in reducing fruit production, the primary reason for the reduced yield is a lack of water. Bermuda's soil is generally very shallow (1.5 to 3 feet) and much of a coconut tree's root mass is found in the porous limestone underneath the soil. Due to the porosity of the limestone, Bermuda's coconut trees do not generally have a sufficient supply of water with which they are able to support a large number of fruit as rain water quickly drains down through the limestone layer to the water table which is far too deep for a coconut's roots to reach. This typically leads to a reduction in fruit yield (sometimes as little as one or two mature fruits) as well as a reduced milk content inside the coconut that often causes the fruit to be infertile.

 

Conversely, trees growing in close proximity to the sea almost universally yield a much greater volume of fruit as they are able to tap directly into the sea water which permeates the limestone in such areas. Not only do these trees produce a significantly higher yield, but also the fruit itself tends to be far more fertile due to the higher milk content. Trees found growing in Bermuda's marshy inland areas enjoy a similar degree of success as they are also able to tap directly into a constant supply of water.

 

EUROPE

As a tropical plant, coconut is not native to Europe, but grows in tropical territories of European countries, such as Martinique and Guadeloupe (France), the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal).

 

COOLER CLIMATES

In cooler climates (but not less than USDA Zone 9), a similar palm, the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), is used in landscaping. Its fruits are very similar to the coconut, but much smaller. The queen palm was originally classified in the genus Cocos along with the coconut, but was later reclassified in Syagrus. A recently discovered palm, Beccariophoenix alfredii from Madagascar, is nearly identical to the coconut, more so than the queen palm and can also be grown in slightly cooler climates than the coconut palm. Coconuts can only be grown in temperatures above 18 °C and need a daily temperature above 22 °C to produce fruit.

 

USES

The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the "tree of life".

 

COOKING

The various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses. The seed provides oil for frying, cooking, and making margarine. The white, fleshy part of the seed, the coconut meat, is used fresh or dried in cooking, especially in confections and desserts such as macaroons. Desiccated coconut or coconut milk made from it is frequently added to curries and other savory dishes. Coconut flour has also been developed for use in baking, to combat malnutrition. Coconut chips have been sold in the tourist regions of Hawaii and the Caribbean. Coconut butter is often used to describe solidified coconut oil, but has also been adopted as a name by certain specialty products made of coconut milk solids or puréed coconut meat and oil. Dried coconut is also used as the filling for many chocolate bars. Some dried coconut is purely coconut but others are manufactured with other ingredients, such as sugar, propylene glycol, salt, and sodium metabisulfite. Some countries in South East Asia use special coconut mutant called Kopyor (in Indonesian) or macapuno (in Philippines) as a dessert drinks.

 

NUTRITION

Per 100 gram serving with 354 calories, raw coconut meat supplies a high amount of total fat (33 grams), especially saturated fat (89% of total fat) and carbohydrates (24 grams) (table). Micronutrients in significant content include the dietary minerals, manganese, iron, phosphorus and zinc (table).

 

COCONUT WATER

Coconut water serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during its nuclear phase of development. Later, the endosperm matures and deposits onto the coconut rind during the cellular phase. It is consumed throughout the humid tropics, and has been introduced into the retail market as a processed sports drink. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young, immature coconuts, barring spoilage. Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar.

 

Per 100 gram (100 ml) serving, coconut water contains 19 calories and no significant content of essential nutrients.

 

COCONUT MILK

Coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, is obtained primarily by extracting juice by pressing the grated coconut white kernel or by passing hot water or milk through grated coconut, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It has a total fat content of 24%, most of which (89%) is saturated fat, with lauric acid as a major fatty acid. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate from the milk. The milk can be used to produce virgin coconut oil by controlled heating and removal of the oil fraction.

 

A protein-rich powder can be processed from coconut milk following centrifugation, separation and spray drying.

 

COCONUT OIL

Another byproduct of the coconut is coconut oil. It is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying. It can be used in liquid form as would other vegetable oils, or in solid form as would butter or lard.

 

TODDY AND NECTAR

The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut is drunk as neera, also known as toddy or tuba (Philippines), tuak (Indonesia and Malaysia) or karewe (fresh and not fermented, collected twice a day, for breakfast and dinner) in Kiribati. When left to ferment on its own, it becomes palm wine. Palm wine is distilled to produce arrack. In the Philippines, this alcoholic drink is called lambanog or "coconut vodka".

 

The sap can be reduced by boiling to create a sweet syrup or candy such as te kamamai in Kiribati or dhiyaa hakuru and addu bondi in the Maldives. It can be reduced further to yield coconut sugar also referred to as palm sugar or jaggery. A young, well-maintained tree can produce around 300 liters of toddy per year, while a 40-year-old tree may yield around 400 liters.

 

HEART OF PALM AND COCONUT SPROUT

Apical buds of adult plants are edible, and are known as "palm cabbage" or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy, as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads, sometimes called "millionaire's salad". Newly germinated coconuts contain an edible fluff of marshmallow-like consistency called coconut sprout, produced as the endosperm nourishes the developing embryo.

 

INDONESIA

Coconut is an indispensable ingredient in Indonesian cooking. Coconut meat, coconut milk and coconut water are often used in main courses, desserts and soups throughout the archipelago. In the island of Sumatra, the famous Rendang, the traditional beef stew from West Sumatra, chunks of beef are cooked in coconut milk along with other spices for hours until thickened. In Jakarta, "Soto Babat" or beef tripe soup also uses coconut milk. In the island of Java, the sweet and savoury "Tempe Bacem" is made by cooking tempeh with coconut water, coconut sugar and other spices until thickened. "Klapertart" is the famous Dutch-influenced dessert from Manado, North Celebes, that uses young coconut meat and coconut milk. In 2010, Indonesia increased its coconut production. It is now the world's second largest producer of coconuts. The gross production was 15 million tonnes. A sprouting coconut seed is the logo for Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia, the Indonesian Scouting organization. It can be seen on all the scouting paraphernalia that elementary (SMA) school children wear as well as on the scouting pins and flags.

 

PHILIPPINES

The Philippines is the world's largest producer of coconuts; the production of coconuts plays an important role in the economy. Coconuts in the Philippines are usually used in making main dishes, refreshments and desserts. Coconut juice is also a popular drink in the country. In the Philippines, particularly Cebu, rice is wrapped in coconut leaves for cooking and subsequent storage; these packets are called puso. Coconut milk, known as gata, and grated coconut flakes are used in the preparation of dishes such as laing, ginataan, bibingka, ube halaya, pitsi-pitsi, palitaw, buko and coconut pie. Coconut jam is made by mixing muscovado sugar with coconut milk. Coconut sport fruits are also harvested. One such variety of coconut is known as macapuno. Its meat is sweetened, cut into strands and sold in glass jars as coconut strings, sometimes labeled as "gelatinous mutant coconut". Coconut water can be fermented to make a different product - nata de coco (coconut gel).

 

VIETNAM

In Vietnam, coconut is grown abundantly across Central and Southern Vietnam, and especially in Bến Tre Province, often called the "land of the coconut". It is used to make coconut candy, caramel, and jelly. Coconut juice and coconut milk are used, especially in Vietnam's southern style of cooking, including kho, chè and curry (cà ri).

 

INDIA

In southern India, most common way of cooking vegetables is to add grated coconut and then steam them with spices fried in oil. People from southern India also make chutney, which involves grinding the coconut with salt, chillies, and whole spices. Uruttu chammanthi (granulated chutney) is eaten with rice or kanji (rice gruel). It is also invariably the main side dish served with idli, vadai, and dosai. Coconut ground with spices is also mixed in sambar and other various lunch dishes for extra taste. Dishes garnished with grated coconut are generally referred to as poduthol in North Malabar and thoran in rest of Kerala. Puttu is a culinary delicacy of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, in which layers of coconut alternate with layers of powdered rice, all of which fit into a bamboo stalk. Recently, this has been replaced with a steel or aluminium tube, which is then steamed over a pot. Coconut (Tamil: தேங்காய்) is regularly broken in the middle-class families in Tamil Nadu for food. Coconut meat can be eaten as a snack sweetened with jaggery or molasses. In Karnataka sweets are prepared using coconut and dry coconut "copra"., Like Kaie Obattu, Kobri mitai etc.

 

WIKIPEDIA

India, Heritage Food with a Twist, Masala Dosa Cornets, Finger Food filled with;

•Avocado-Alfonso mango salad with cilantro & bell pepper salad

•Mung bean sprouts, chopped walnuts & crisp fried curry leafs, seasoned with white balsamic & jaggery dressing

•Tomato, mozzarella & basil

•Masala Dosa, spiced potato stew with sweet peas, fresh fenugreek leaves & tempered with cracked cumin

Dosa, Dosé, Dosai, or in Singapore it’s called Thosai; thin like a crêpe but crispy, made from an overnight fermented batter prepared with rice & black lentils. A thin layer of the batter is then ladled onto a hot tava, the griddle plate, greased with oil or ghee, the Indian type of clarified butter. It is spread out evenly on the hot griddle plate with the base of a ladle or bowl to form a round disc. Dosa is served hot, either folded in half or rolled like a wrap, stuffed with vegetarian food, served with sambar or chutneys.

Basically from Udipi, Dosas Karnataka, spreaded all over south India & each region created its particular style.

A traditional Dosa is the Masala Dosa, stuffed with a kind of spiced potato stew, served with onion & coconut chutney. Other popular variations are the Kal Dosa, backed thick like a spongy pancake or the Rawa Dosa, made with Rava, semolina, it does not need fermentation & is usually considered a snack or fast food & not stuffed.

 

Masala Dosa was quoted in the top ten tasty foods of the world in 2012.

 

God created Food,

the Devil created Cooks,

…but Women gave as Inspiration!

 

:point_right: One World one Dream,

...Danke, Xièxie 谢谢, Thanks, Gracias, Merci, Grazie, Obrigado, Arigatô, Dhanyavad, Chokrane to you & over

7 million visits in my photostream with countless motivating comments

India, Heritage Food, Dosa with four chutneys, red onion chutney, Coconut Pottu Kadalai chutney, coriander leaves chutney & tomato chutney

Dosa, Dosé, Dosai, or in Singapore it’s called Thosai; thin like a crêpe but crispy, made from an overnight fermented batter prepared with rice & black lentils. A thin layer of the batter is then ladled onto a hot tava, the griddle plate, greased with oil or ghee, the Indian type of clarified butter. It is spread out evenly on the hot griddle plate with the base of a ladle or bowl to form a round disc. Dosa is served hot, either folded in half or rolled like a wrap, stuffed with vegetarian food, served with sambar or chutneys.

Basically from Udipi, Karnataka, Dosas spreaded all over south India & each region created its particular style.

A traditional Dosa is the Masala Dosa, stuffed with a kind of spiced potato stew, served with onion & coconut chutney. Other popular variations are the Kal Dosa, backed thick like a spongy pancake or the Rawa Dosa, made with Rava, semolina, it does not need fermentation & is usually considered a snack or fast food & not stuffed.

Masala Dosa was quoted in the top ten tasty foods of the world in 2012.

 

:point_right: One World one Dream,

...Danke, Xièxie 谢谢, Thanks, Gracias, Merci, Grazie, Obrigado, Arigatô, Dhanyavad, Chokrane to you & over

6,5 million visits in my photostream with countless motivating comments

Thanks for viewing and your comments.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Invitations for my pictures to groups will be accepted only on the condition that I shall be immune to their rules. The groups should neither expect me to become their member, nor to obey their commenting policies.

 

The colours / brightness / contrast have been adjusted on my Dell Laptop, which is NOT calibrated; therefore, they would definitely look different on other monitors. I shall re-adjust them once I am back home.

 

To see my portfolio quickly, click on : THIS

 

=================================

Place: Kolkata (was known as Calcutta)

Date: June 10, 2008

Camera: Nikon Coolpix P1

Light: Morning

Post-Production with CS4

====================================================================================

 

Vada [*1], also known as Vadai, is a traditional South Indian food known from ancient times, commonly prepared at home. However, it is a typical food item in hotels now all over the world where South Indian food is served. They can vary in shape and size, but are usually either doughnut- or disc-shaped and are about between 5 and 8 cm across. They are usually made from dal, lentil, gram flour or potato; but there is a wide variety of them.

 

Vadai is typically and traditionally served along with a main course such as Dosa [*2], Idli [*3], or Pongal [*4]. It is never the main course and is had as a light snack or on the side of another dish and usually not separately as a meal. Vadas are preferably eaten freshly fried, while still hot and crunchy and is served with a variety of dips ranging from sambar [*5] to chutney [*6] to curd.

 

[*1]: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vada

[*2]: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dosa

[*3]: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idli

[*4]: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pongal

[*5]: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambar_%28dish%29

[*6]: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chutney

 

====================================================================================

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family).

 

It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. 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. 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.

 

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of "water" and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. 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; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is potable. 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 many societies that use it.

 

DESCRIPTION

PLANT

Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m 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.

 

FRUIT

Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like other fruits, it has three layers: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the "husk" of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of nontropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of a fiber, called coir, which has many traditional and commercial uses. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or "eyes" that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed.

 

A full-sized coconut weighs about 1.44 kg. It takes around 6,000 full-grown coconuts to produce a tonne of copra.

 

ROOTS

Unlike some other plants, the palm tree has neither a tap root nor root hairs, but has a fibrous root system.

 

The coconut palm root system consists of an abundance of thin roots that grow outward from the plant near the surface. Only a few of the roots penetrate deep into the soil for stability. The type of root system is known as fibrous or adventitious, and is a characteristic of grass species. Other types of large trees produce a single downward-growing tap root with a number of feeder roots growing from it.

 

Coconut palms continue to produce roots from the base of the stem throughout its life. The number of roots produced depends on the age of the tree and the environment, with more than 3,600 roots possible on a tree that's 60 to 70 years old.

 

Roots are usually less than about 3 inches in diameter and uniformly thick from the tree trunk to the root tip.

Inflorescence

 

The palm produces both the female and male flowers on the same inflorescence; thus, the palm is monoecious. Other sources use the term polygamomonoecious. The female flower is much larger than the male flower. Flowering occurs continuously. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating.

 

ETYMOLOGY

One of the earliest mentions of the coconut dates back to the One Thousand and One Nights story of Sinbad the Sailor; he is known to have bought and sold coconuts during his fifth voyage. Tenga, its Malayalam and Tamil name, was used in the detailed description of coconut found in Itinerario by Ludovico di Varthema published in 1510 and also in the later Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Even earlier, it was called nux indica, a name used by Marco Polo in 1280 while in Sumatra, taken from the Arabs who called it جوز هندي jawz hindī. Both names translate to "Indian nut". In the earliest description of the coconut palm known, given by Cosmos of Alexandria in his Topographia Christiana written about 545 AD, there is a reference to the argell tree and its drupe.

 

Historical evidence favors the European origin of the name "coconut", for no name is similar in any of the languages of India, where the Portuguese first found the fruit; and indeed Barbosa, Barros, and Garcia, in mentioning the Tamil/Malayalam name tenga, and Canarese narle, expressly say, "we call these fruits quoquos", "our people have given it the name of coco", and "that which we call coco, and the Malabars temga".

 

The OED states: "Portuguese and Spanish authors of the 16th c. agree in identifying the word with Portuguese and Spanish coco "grinning face, grin, grimace", also "bugbear, scarecrow", cognate with cocar "to grin, make a grimace"; the name being said to refer to the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its three holes. According to Losada, the name came from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The coconut shell reminded them of a ghost or witch in Portuguese folklore called coco (also côca). The first known recorded usage of the term is 1555.

 

The specific name nucifera is Latin for "nut-bearing".

Origin, domestication, and dispersal

 

ORIGIN

The origin of the plant is the subject of debate. O.F. Cook was one of the earliest modern researchers to draw conclusions about the location of origin of Cocos nucifera based on its current-day worldwide distribution. He hypothesized that the coconut originated in the Americas, based on his belief that American coconut populations predated European contact and because he considered pan-tropical distribution by ocean currents improbable. Thor Heyerdahl later used this hypothesis of the American origin of the coconut to support his theory that the Pacific Islanders originated in South America. However, more evidence exists for an Indo-Pacific origin either around Melanesia and Malesia or the Indian Ocean. The oldest fossils known of the modern coconut dating from the Eocene period from around 37 to 55 million years ago were found in Australia and India. However, older palm fossils such as some of nipa fruit have been found in the Americas. Since 1978, the work on tracing the probable origin and dispersal of Cocos nucifera has only recently been augmented by a publication on the germination rate of the coconut seednut and another on the importance of the coral atoll ecosystem. Briefly, the coconut originated in the coral atoll ecosystem — without human intervention — and required a thick husk and slow germination to survive and disperse.

 

DOMESTICATION

Coconuts could not reach inland locations without human intervention (to carry seednuts, plant seedlings, etc.) and it was early germination on the palm (vivipary) that was important, rather than increasing the number or size of the edible parts of a fruit that was already large enough. Human cultivation of the coconut selected, not for larger size, but for thinner husks and increased volume of endosperm, the solid “meat” or liquid “water” that provides the fruit its food value. Although these modifications for domestication would reduce the fruit’s ability to float, this ability would be irrelevant to a cultivated population.

 

Among modern C. nucifera, two major types or variants: a thick-husked, angular fruit and a thin-husked, spherical fruit with a higher proportion of endosperm reflect a trend of cultivation in C. nucifera: the first coconuts were of the niu kafa type, with thick husks to protect the seed, an angular, highly ridged shape to promote buoyancy during ocean dispersal, and a pointed base that allowed fruits to dig into the sand, preventing them from being washed away during germination on a new island. As early human communities began to harvest coconuts for eating and planting, they (perhaps unintentionally) selected for a larger endosperm to husk ratio and a broader, spherical base, which rendered the fruit useful as a cup or bowl, thus creating the niu vai type. The decreased buoyancy and increased fragility of this spherical, thin-husked fruit would not matter for a species that had started to be dispersed by humans and grown in plantations. Harries’ adoption of the Polynesian terms niu kafa and niu vai has now passed into general scientific discourse, and his hypothesis is generally accepted.

 

Variants of C. nucifera are also categorized as Tall (var. typica) or Dwarf (var. nana). The two groups are genetically distinct, with the Dwarf variety showing a greater degree of artificial selection for ornamental traits and for early germination and fruiting. The Tall variety is outcrossing while Dwarf palms are incrossing, which has led to a much greater degree of genetic diversity within the Tall group. It is believed that the Dwarf subgroup mutated from the Tall group under human selection pressure.

 

DISPERSAL

It is often stated that coconuts can travel 110 days, or 4,800 km, by sea and still be able to germinate. This figure has been questioned based on the extremely small sample size that forms the basis of the paper that makes this claim. Thor Heyerdahl provides an alternative, and much shorter, estimate based on his first-hand experience crossing the Pacific Ocean on the raft Kon-Tiki: "The nuts we had in baskets on deck remained edible and capable of germinating the whole way to Polynesia. But we had laid about half among the special provisions below deck, with the waves washing around them. Every single one of these was ruined by the sea water. And no coconut can float over the sea faster than a balsa raft moves with the wind behind it." He also notes that several of the nuts began to germinate by the time they had been ten weeks at sea, precluding an unassisted journey of 100 days or more. However, it is more than likely that the coconut variety Heyerdahl chose for his long sea voyage was of the large, fleshy, spherical niu vai type, which Harries observed to have a significantly shorter germination type and worse buoyancy than the uncultivated niu kafa type. Therefore, Heyerdahl’s observations cannot be considered conclusive when it comes to determining the independent dispersal ability of the uncultivated coconut.

 

Drift models based on wind and ocean currents have shown that coconuts could not have drifted across the Pacific unaided. This provides some circumstantial evidence that Austronesian peoples carried coconuts across the ocean and that they could not have dispersed worldwide without human agency. More recently, genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) has shed light on the movements of Austronesian peoples. By examining 10 microsatellite loci, researchers found two genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut - one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, admixture, the transfer of genetic material, evidently occurred between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, individuals from one population possibly could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to Madagascar and coastal east Africa, and exclude the Seychelles. This pattern coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, a genetically distinct subpopulation of coconut on the Pacific coast of Latin America has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect; however, its ancestral population is the Pacific coconut. This, together with their use of the South American sweet potato, suggests that Austronesian peoples may have sailed as far east as the Americas.

 

DISTRIBUTION

The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild are light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. Specimens have been collected from the sea as far north as Norway. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in Oceania. They have been found in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America for less than 500 years, but evidence of their presence on the Pacific coast of South America predates Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. They are now almost ubiquitous between 26°N and 26°S except for the interiors of Africa and South America.

  

NATURAL HABITAT

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity (70–80%+) for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity. However, they can be found in humid areas with low annual precipitation such as in Karachi, Pakistan, which receives only about 250 mm of rainfall per year, but is consistently warm and humid.

 

Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather. Some seasonal variation is tolerated, with good growth where mean summer temperatures are between 28 and 37 °C, and survival as long as winter temperatures are above 4–12 °C; they will survive brief drops to 0 °C. Severe frost is usually fatal, although they have been known to recover from temperatures of −4 °C. They may grow but not fruit properly in areas with insufficient warmth, such as Bermuda.

 

The conditions required for coconut trees to grow without any care are:

 

- Mean daily temperature above 12–13 °C every day of the year

- Mean annual rainfall above 1000 mm

- No or very little overhead canopy, since even small trees require direct sun

 

The main limiting factor for most locations which satisfy the rainfall and temperature requirements is canopy growth, except those locations near coastlines, where the sandy soil and salt spray limit the growth of most other trees.

 

DISEASES

Coconuts are susceptible to the phytoplasma disease lethal yellowing. One recently selected cultivar, the Maypan, has been bred for resistance to this disease.

 

PESTS

The coconut palm is damaged by the larvae of many Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species which feed on it, including Batrachedra spp.: B. arenosella, B. atriloqua (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), B. mathesoni (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), and B. nuciferae.

 

Brontispa longissima (coconut leaf beetle) feeds on young leaves, and damages both seedlings and mature coconut palms. In 2007, the Philippines imposed a quarantine in Metro Manila and 26 provinces to stop the spread of the pest and protect the $800 million Philippine coconut industry.

 

The fruit may also be damaged by eriophyid coconut mites (Eriophyes guerreronis). This mite infests coconut plantations, and is devastating: it can destroy up to 90% of coconut production. The immature seeds are infested and desapped by larvae staying in the portion covered by the perianth of the immature seed; the seeds then drop off or survive deformed. Spraying with wettable sulfur 0.4% or with neem-based pesticides can give some relief, but is cumbersome and labor-intensive.

 

In Kerala (India), the main coconut pests are the coconut mite, the rhinoceros beetle, the red palm weevil and the coconut leaf caterpillar. Research into countermeasures to these pests has as of 2009 yielded no results; researchers from the Kerala Agricultural University and the Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasaragode continue to work on countermeasures. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has developed an innovative extension approach called the compact area group approach (CAGA) to combat coconut mites.

 

PRODUCTION AND CULTIVATION

Coconut palms are grown in more than 90 countries of the world, with a total production of 62 million tonnes per year (table). Most of the world production is in tropical Asia, with Indonesia, the Philippines and India accounting collectively for 73% of the world total (table).

 

CULTIVATION

Coconut trees are hard to establish in dry climates, and cannot grow there without frequent irrigation; in drought conditions, the new leaves do not open well, and older leaves may become desiccated; fruit also tends to be shed.

 

The extent of cultivation in the tropics is threatening a number of habitats, such as mangroves; an example of such damage to an ecoregion is in the Petenes mangroves of the Yucatán.

 

HARVESTING

In some parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia), trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. Training schools for pig-tailed macaques still exist both in southern Thailand and in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. Competitions are held each year to find the fastest harvester.

 

INDIA

Traditional areas of coconut cultivation in India are the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar. As per 2013-14 statistics from Coconut Development Board of Government of India, four southern states combined account for almost 92% of the total production in the country: Tamil Nadu (31.93%), Kerala (27.54%), Karnataka (23.26%), and Andhra Pradesh (8.43%). Other states, such as Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and those in the northeast (Tripura and Assam) account for the remaining productions. Though Kerala has the largest number of coconut trees, in terms of production per hectare, Tamil Nadu leads all other states. In Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore and Tirupur regions top the production list.

 

Various terms, such as copra and coir, are derived from the native Malayalam language. In Kerala, the coconut tree is called "Thengu" also termed as kalpa vriksham, which essentially means all parts of a coconut tree is useful some way or other. In Tamil Nadu, a coconut tree is called as "Thennai maram" and tender coconut is called as "Ilaneer" in the native language.

 

MALDIVES

The coconut is the national tree of the Maldives and is considered the most important plant in the country. A coconut tree is also included in the country's national emblem or coat of arms. Coconut trees are grown on all the islands. Before modern construction methods were introduced, coconut leaves were used as roofing material for many houses in the islands, while coconut timber was used to build houses and boats.

 

MIDDLE EAST

The main coconut-producing area in the Middle East is the Dhofar region of Oman, but they can be grown all along the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea coasts, because these seas are tropical and provide enough humidity (through seawater evaporation) for coconut trees to grow. The young coconut plants need to be nursed and irrigated with drip pipes until they are old enough (stem bulb development) to be irrigated with brackish water or seawater alone, after which they can be replanted on the beaches. In particular, the area around Salalah maintains large coconut plantations similar to those found across the Arabian Sea in Kerala. The reasons why coconut are cultivated only in Yemen's Al Mahrah and Hadramaut governorates and in the Sultanate of Oman, but not in other suitable areas in the Arabian Peninsula, may originate from the fact that Oman and Hadramaut had long dhow trade relations with Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Africa and Zanzibar, as well as southern India and China. Omani people needed the coir rope from the coconut fiber to stitch together their traditional high seas-going dhow vessels in which nails were never used. The 'know how' of coconut cultivation and necessary soil fixation and irrigation may have found its way into Omani, Hadrami and Al-Mahra culture by people who returned from those overseas areas.

 

The coconut cultivars grown in Oman are generally of the drought-resistant Indian "West Coast tall" (WC Tall) variety. Unlike the UAE, which grows mostly non-native dwarf or hybrid coconut cultivars imported from Florida for ornamental purposes, the slender, tall Omani coconut cultivars are relatively well-adapted to the Middle East's hot dry seasons, but need longer to reach maturity. The Middle East's hot, dry climate favors the development of coconut mites, which cause immature seed dropping and may cause brownish-gray discoloration on the coconut's outer green fiber.

 

The ancient coconut groves of Dhofar were mentioned by the medieval Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta in his writings, known as Al Rihla.[52] The annual rainy season known locally as Khareef or monsoon makes coconut cultivation easy on the Arabian east coast.

 

Coconut trees also are increasingly grown for decorative purposes along the coasts of the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the help of irrigation. The UAE has, however, imposed strict laws on mature coconut tree imports from other countries to reduce the spread of pests to other native palm trees, as the mixing of date and coconut trees poses a risk of cross-species palm pests, such as rhinoceros beetles and red palm weevils. The artificial landscaping adopted in Florida may have been the cause for lethal yellowing, a viral coconut palm disease that leads to the death of the tree. It is spread by host insects, that thrive on heavy turf grasses. Therefore, heavy turf grass environments (beach resorts and golf courses) also pose a major threat to local coconut trees. Traditionally, dessert banana plants and local wild beach flora such as Scaevola taccada and Ipomoea pes-caprae were used as humidity-supplying green undergrowth for coconut trees, mixed with sea almond and sea hibiscus. Due to growing sedentary life styles and heavy-handed landscaping, there has been a decline in these traditional farming and soil-fixing techniques.

 

SRI LANKA

An early mention of the planting of coconuts is found in the Mahavamsa during the reign of Agrabodhi II around 589 AD. Coconuts are common in the Sri Lankan diet and the main source of dietary fat.

 

UNITED STATES

In the United States coconut palms can be grown and reproduced outdoors without irrigation in Hawaii, southern and central Florida, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

In Florida, Coconut palms will grow from coastal Pinellas County and St. Petersburg southwards on Florida's west coast, and Melbourne southwards on Florida's east coast. The occasional coconut palm is seen north of these areas in favoured microclimates in Tampa and Clearwater, as well as around Cape Canaveral and Daytona Beach on the east coast. They reach fruiting maturity, but can be damaged or killed by the occasional winter freezes in these areas. In South Texas they may also be grown in favoured microclimates around the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, and as far north as Corpus Christi , however more severe cold snaps keep them from producing viable fruit.

 

AUSTRALIA

Coconuts are commonly grown around the northern coast of Australia, and in some warmer parts of New South Wales.

 

BERMUDA

Most of the tall mature coconut trees found in Bermuda were shipped to the island as seedlings on the decks of ships. In more recent years, the importation of coconuts was prohibited, therefore, a large proportion of the younger trees have been propagated from locally grown coconuts.

 

In the winter months, the growth rate of coconut trees declines due to cooler temperatures and people have commonly attributed this to the reduced yield of coconuts in comparison to tropical regions. However, whilst cooler winter temperatures may be a factor in reducing fruit production, the primary reason for the reduced yield is a lack of water. Bermuda's soil is generally very shallow (1.5 to 3 feet) and much of a coconut tree's root mass is found in the porous limestone underneath the soil. Due to the porosity of the limestone, Bermuda's coconut trees do not generally have a sufficient supply of water with which they are able to support a large number of fruit as rain water quickly drains down through the limestone layer to the water table which is far too deep for a coconut's roots to reach. This typically leads to a reduction in fruit yield (sometimes as little as one or two mature fruits) as well as a reduced milk content inside the coconut that often causes the fruit to be infertile.

 

Conversely, trees growing in close proximity to the sea almost universally yield a much greater volume of fruit as they are able to tap directly into the sea water which permeates the limestone in such areas. Not only do these trees produce a significantly higher yield, but also the fruit itself tends to be far more fertile due to the higher milk content. Trees found growing in Bermuda's marshy inland areas enjoy a similar degree of success as they are also able to tap directly into a constant supply of water.

 

EUROPE

As a tropical plant, coconut is not native to Europe, but grows in tropical territories of European countries, such as Martinique and Guadeloupe (France), the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal).

 

COOLER CLIMATES

In cooler climates (but not less than USDA Zone 9), a similar palm, the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), is used in landscaping. Its fruits are very similar to the coconut, but much smaller. The queen palm was originally classified in the genus Cocos along with the coconut, but was later reclassified in Syagrus. A recently discovered palm, Beccariophoenix alfredii from Madagascar, is nearly identical to the coconut, more so than the queen palm and can also be grown in slightly cooler climates than the coconut palm. Coconuts can only be grown in temperatures above 18 °C and need a daily temperature above 22 °C to produce fruit.

 

USES

The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the "tree of life".

 

COOKING

The various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses. The seed provides oil for frying, cooking, and making margarine. The white, fleshy part of the seed, the coconut meat, is used fresh or dried in cooking, especially in confections and desserts such as macaroons. Desiccated coconut or coconut milk made from it is frequently added to curries and other savory dishes. Coconut flour has also been developed for use in baking, to combat malnutrition. Coconut chips have been sold in the tourist regions of Hawaii and the Caribbean. Coconut butter is often used to describe solidified coconut oil, but has also been adopted as a name by certain specialty products made of coconut milk solids or puréed coconut meat and oil. Dried coconut is also used as the filling for many chocolate bars. Some dried coconut is purely coconut but others are manufactured with other ingredients, such as sugar, propylene glycol, salt, and sodium metabisulfite. Some countries in South East Asia use special coconut mutant called Kopyor (in Indonesian) or macapuno (in Philippines) as a dessert drinks.

 

NUTRITION

Per 100 gram serving with 354 calories, raw coconut meat supplies a high amount of total fat (33 grams), especially saturated fat (89% of total fat) and carbohydrates (24 grams) (table). Micronutrients in significant content include the dietary minerals, manganese, iron, phosphorus and zinc (table).

 

COCONUT WATER

Coconut water serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during its nuclear phase of development. Later, the endosperm matures and deposits onto the coconut rind during the cellular phase. It is consumed throughout the humid tropics, and has been introduced into the retail market as a processed sports drink. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young, immature coconuts, barring spoilage. Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar.

 

Per 100 gram (100 ml) serving, coconut water contains 19 calories and no significant content of essential nutrients.

 

COCONUT MILK

Coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, is obtained primarily by extracting juice by pressing the grated coconut white kernel or by passing hot water or milk through grated coconut, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It has a total fat content of 24%, most of which (89%) is saturated fat, with lauric acid as a major fatty acid. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate from the milk. The milk can be used to produce virgin coconut oil by controlled heating and removal of the oil fraction.

 

A protein-rich powder can be processed from coconut milk following centrifugation, separation and spray drying.

 

COCONUT OIL

Another byproduct of the coconut is coconut oil. It is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying. It can be used in liquid form as would other vegetable oils, or in solid form as would butter or lard.

 

TODDY AND NECTAR

The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut is drunk as neera, also known as toddy or tuba (Philippines), tuak (Indonesia and Malaysia) or karewe (fresh and not fermented, collected twice a day, for breakfast and dinner) in Kiribati. When left to ferment on its own, it becomes palm wine. Palm wine is distilled to produce arrack. In the Philippines, this alcoholic drink is called lambanog or "coconut vodka".

 

The sap can be reduced by boiling to create a sweet syrup or candy such as te kamamai in Kiribati or dhiyaa hakuru and addu bondi in the Maldives. It can be reduced further to yield coconut sugar also referred to as palm sugar or jaggery. A young, well-maintained tree can produce around 300 liters of toddy per year, while a 40-year-old tree may yield around 400 liters.

 

HEART OF PALM AND COCONUT SPROUT

Apical buds of adult plants are edible, and are known as "palm cabbage" or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy, as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads, sometimes called "millionaire's salad". Newly germinated coconuts contain an edible fluff of marshmallow-like consistency called coconut sprout, produced as the endosperm nourishes the developing embryo.

 

INDONESIA

Coconut is an indispensable ingredient in Indonesian cooking. Coconut meat, coconut milk and coconut water are often used in main courses, desserts and soups throughout the archipelago. In the island of Sumatra, the famous Rendang, the traditional beef stew from West Sumatra, chunks of beef are cooked in coconut milk along with other spices for hours until thickened. In Jakarta, "Soto Babat" or beef tripe soup also uses coconut milk. In the island of Java, the sweet and savoury "Tempe Bacem" is made by cooking tempeh with coconut water, coconut sugar and other spices until thickened. "Klapertart" is the famous Dutch-influenced dessert from Manado, North Celebes, that uses young coconut meat and coconut milk. In 2010, Indonesia increased its coconut production. It is now the world's second largest producer of coconuts. The gross production was 15 million tonnes. A sprouting coconut seed is the logo for Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia, the Indonesian Scouting organization. It can be seen on all the scouting paraphernalia that elementary (SMA) school children wear as well as on the scouting pins and flags.

 

PHILIPPINES

The Philippines is the world's largest producer of coconuts; the production of coconuts plays an important role in the economy. Coconuts in the Philippines are usually used in making main dishes, refreshments and desserts. Coconut juice is also a popular drink in the country. In the Philippines, particularly Cebu, rice is wrapped in coconut leaves for cooking and subsequent storage; these packets are called puso. Coconut milk, known as gata, and grated coconut flakes are used in the preparation of dishes such as laing, ginataan, bibingka, ube halaya, pitsi-pitsi, palitaw, buko and coconut pie. Coconut jam is made by mixing muscovado sugar with coconut milk. Coconut sport fruits are also harvested. One such variety of coconut is known as macapuno. Its meat is sweetened, cut into strands and sold in glass jars as coconut strings, sometimes labeled as "gelatinous mutant coconut". Coconut water can be fermented to make a different product - nata de coco (coconut gel).

 

VIETNAM

In Vietnam, coconut is grown abundantly across Central and Southern Vietnam, and especially in Bến Tre Province, often called the "land of the coconut". It is used to make coconut candy, caramel, and jelly. Coconut juice and coconut milk are used, especially in Vietnam's southern style of cooking, including kho, chè and curry (cà ri).

 

INDIA

In southern India, most common way of cooking vegetables is to add grated coconut and then steam them with spices fried in oil. People from southern India also make chutney, which involves grinding the coconut with salt, chillies, and whole spices. Uruttu chammanthi (granulated chutney) is eaten with rice or kanji (rice gruel). It is also invariably the main side dish served with idli, vadai, and dosai. Coconut ground with spices is also mixed in sambar and other various lunch dishes for extra taste. Dishes garnished with grated coconut are generally referred to as poduthol in North Malabar and thoran in rest of Kerala. Puttu is a culinary delicacy of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, in which layers of coconut alternate with layers of powdered rice, all of which fit into a bamboo stalk. Recently, this has been replaced with a steel or aluminium tube, which is then steamed over a pot. Coconut (Tamil: தேங்காய்) is regularly broken in the middle-class families in Tamil Nadu for food. Coconut meat can be eaten as a snack sweetened with jaggery or molasses. In Karnataka sweets are prepared using coconut and dry coconut "copra"., Like Kaie Obattu, Kobri mitai etc.

 

WIKIPEDIA

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family).

 

It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. 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. 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.

 

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of "water" and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. 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; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is potable. 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 many societies that use it.

 

DESCRIPTION

PLANT

Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m 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.

 

FRUIT

Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like other fruits, it has three layers: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the "husk" of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of nontropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of a fiber, called coir, which has many traditional and commercial uses. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or "eyes" that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed.

 

A full-sized coconut weighs about 1.44 kg. It takes around 6,000 full-grown coconuts to produce a tonne of copra.

 

ROOTS

Unlike some other plants, the palm tree has neither a tap root nor root hairs, but has a fibrous root system.

 

The coconut palm root system consists of an abundance of thin roots that grow outward from the plant near the surface. Only a few of the roots penetrate deep into the soil for stability. The type of root system is known as fibrous or adventitious, and is a characteristic of grass species. Other types of large trees produce a single downward-growing tap root with a number of feeder roots growing from it.

 

Coconut palms continue to produce roots from the base of the stem throughout its life. The number of roots produced depends on the age of the tree and the environment, with more than 3,600 roots possible on a tree that's 60 to 70 years old.

 

Roots are usually less than about 3 inches in diameter and uniformly thick from the tree trunk to the root tip.

Inflorescence

 

The palm produces both the female and male flowers on the same inflorescence; thus, the palm is monoecious. Other sources use the term polygamomonoecious. The female flower is much larger than the male flower. Flowering occurs continuously. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating.

 

ETYMOLOGY

One of the earliest mentions of the coconut dates back to the One Thousand and One Nights story of Sinbad the Sailor; he is known to have bought and sold coconuts during his fifth voyage. Tenga, its Malayalam and Tamil name, was used in the detailed description of coconut found in Itinerario by Ludovico di Varthema published in 1510 and also in the later Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Even earlier, it was called nux indica, a name used by Marco Polo in 1280 while in Sumatra, taken from the Arabs who called it جوز هندي jawz hindī. Both names translate to "Indian nut". In the earliest description of the coconut palm known, given by Cosmos of Alexandria in his Topographia Christiana written about 545 AD, there is a reference to the argell tree and its drupe.

 

Historical evidence favors the European origin of the name "coconut", for no name is similar in any of the languages of India, where the Portuguese first found the fruit; and indeed Barbosa, Barros, and Garcia, in mentioning the Tamil/Malayalam name tenga, and Canarese narle, expressly say, "we call these fruits quoquos", "our people have given it the name of coco", and "that which we call coco, and the Malabars temga".

 

The OED states: "Portuguese and Spanish authors of the 16th c. agree in identifying the word with Portuguese and Spanish coco "grinning face, grin, grimace", also "bugbear, scarecrow", cognate with cocar "to grin, make a grimace"; the name being said to refer to the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its three holes. According to Losada, the name came from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The coconut shell reminded them of a ghost or witch in Portuguese folklore called coco (also côca). The first known recorded usage of the term is 1555.

 

The specific name nucifera is Latin for "nut-bearing".

Origin, domestication, and dispersal

 

ORIGIN

The origin of the plant is the subject of debate. O.F. Cook was one of the earliest modern researchers to draw conclusions about the location of origin of Cocos nucifera based on its current-day worldwide distribution. He hypothesized that the coconut originated in the Americas, based on his belief that American coconut populations predated European contact and because he considered pan-tropical distribution by ocean currents improbable. Thor Heyerdahl later used this hypothesis of the American origin of the coconut to support his theory that the Pacific Islanders originated in South America. However, more evidence exists for an Indo-Pacific origin either around Melanesia and Malesia or the Indian Ocean. The oldest fossils known of the modern coconut dating from the Eocene period from around 37 to 55 million years ago were found in Australia and India. However, older palm fossils such as some of nipa fruit have been found in the Americas. Since 1978, the work on tracing the probable origin and dispersal of Cocos nucifera has only recently been augmented by a publication on the germination rate of the coconut seednut and another on the importance of the coral atoll ecosystem. Briefly, the coconut originated in the coral atoll ecosystem — without human intervention — and required a thick husk and slow germination to survive and disperse.

 

DOMESTICATION

Coconuts could not reach inland locations without human intervention (to carry seednuts, plant seedlings, etc.) and it was early germination on the palm (vivipary) that was important, rather than increasing the number or size of the edible parts of a fruit that was already large enough. Human cultivation of the coconut selected, not for larger size, but for thinner husks and increased volume of endosperm, the solid “meat” or liquid “water” that provides the fruit its food value. Although these modifications for domestication would reduce the fruit’s ability to float, this ability would be irrelevant to a cultivated population.

 

Among modern C. nucifera, two major types or variants: a thick-husked, angular fruit and a thin-husked, spherical fruit with a higher proportion of endosperm reflect a trend of cultivation in C. nucifera: the first coconuts were of the niu kafa type, with thick husks to protect the seed, an angular, highly ridged shape to promote buoyancy during ocean dispersal, and a pointed base that allowed fruits to dig into the sand, preventing them from being washed away during germination on a new island. As early human communities began to harvest coconuts for eating and planting, they (perhaps unintentionally) selected for a larger endosperm to husk ratio and a broader, spherical base, which rendered the fruit useful as a cup or bowl, thus creating the niu vai type. The decreased buoyancy and increased fragility of this spherical, thin-husked fruit would not matter for a species that had started to be dispersed by humans and grown in plantations. Harries’ adoption of the Polynesian terms niu kafa and niu vai has now passed into general scientific discourse, and his hypothesis is generally accepted.

 

Variants of C. nucifera are also categorized as Tall (var. typica) or Dwarf (var. nana). The two groups are genetically distinct, with the Dwarf variety showing a greater degree of artificial selection for ornamental traits and for early germination and fruiting. The Tall variety is outcrossing while Dwarf palms are incrossing, which has led to a much greater degree of genetic diversity within the Tall group. It is believed that the Dwarf subgroup mutated from the Tall group under human selection pressure.

 

DISPERSAL

It is often stated that coconuts can travel 110 days, or 4,800 km, by sea and still be able to germinate. This figure has been questioned based on the extremely small sample size that forms the basis of the paper that makes this claim. Thor Heyerdahl provides an alternative, and much shorter, estimate based on his first-hand experience crossing the Pacific Ocean on the raft Kon-Tiki: "The nuts we had in baskets on deck remained edible and capable of germinating the whole way to Polynesia. But we had laid about half among the special provisions below deck, with the waves washing around them. Every single one of these was ruined by the sea water. And no coconut can float over the sea faster than a balsa raft moves with the wind behind it." He also notes that several of the nuts began to germinate by the time they had been ten weeks at sea, precluding an unassisted journey of 100 days or more. However, it is more than likely that the coconut variety Heyerdahl chose for his long sea voyage was of the large, fleshy, spherical niu vai type, which Harries observed to have a significantly shorter germination type and worse buoyancy than the uncultivated niu kafa type. Therefore, Heyerdahl’s observations cannot be considered conclusive when it comes to determining the independent dispersal ability of the uncultivated coconut.

 

Drift models based on wind and ocean currents have shown that coconuts could not have drifted across the Pacific unaided. This provides some circumstantial evidence that Austronesian peoples carried coconuts across the ocean and that they could not have dispersed worldwide without human agency. More recently, genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) has shed light on the movements of Austronesian peoples. By examining 10 microsatellite loci, researchers found two genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut - one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, admixture, the transfer of genetic material, evidently occurred between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, individuals from one population possibly could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to Madagascar and coastal east Africa, and exclude the Seychelles. This pattern coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, a genetically distinct subpopulation of coconut on the Pacific coast of Latin America has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect; however, its ancestral population is the Pacific coconut. This, together with their use of the South American sweet potato, suggests that Austronesian peoples may have sailed as far east as the Americas.

 

DISTRIBUTION

The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild are light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. Specimens have been collected from the sea as far north as Norway. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in Oceania. They have been found in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America for less than 500 years, but evidence of their presence on the Pacific coast of South America predates Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. They are now almost ubiquitous between 26°N and 26°S except for the interiors of Africa and South America.

  

NATURAL HABITAT

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity (70–80%+) for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity. However, they can be found in humid areas with low annual precipitation such as in Karachi, Pakistan, which receives only about 250 mm of rainfall per year, but is consistently warm and humid.

 

Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather. Some seasonal variation is tolerated, with good growth where mean summer temperatures are between 28 and 37 °C, and survival as long as winter temperatures are above 4–12 °C; they will survive brief drops to 0 °C. Severe frost is usually fatal, although they have been known to recover from temperatures of −4 °C. They may grow but not fruit properly in areas with insufficient warmth, such as Bermuda.

 

The conditions required for coconut trees to grow without any care are:

 

- Mean daily temperature above 12–13 °C every day of the year

- Mean annual rainfall above 1000 mm

- No or very little overhead canopy, since even small trees require direct sun

 

The main limiting factor for most locations which satisfy the rainfall and temperature requirements is canopy growth, except those locations near coastlines, where the sandy soil and salt spray limit the growth of most other trees.

 

DISEASES

Coconuts are susceptible to the phytoplasma disease lethal yellowing. One recently selected cultivar, the Maypan, has been bred for resistance to this disease.

 

PESTS

The coconut palm is damaged by the larvae of many Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species which feed on it, including Batrachedra spp.: B. arenosella, B. atriloqua (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), B. mathesoni (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), and B. nuciferae.

 

Brontispa longissima (coconut leaf beetle) feeds on young leaves, and damages both seedlings and mature coconut palms. In 2007, the Philippines imposed a quarantine in Metro Manila and 26 provinces to stop the spread of the pest and protect the $800 million Philippine coconut industry.

 

The fruit may also be damaged by eriophyid coconut mites (Eriophyes guerreronis). This mite infests coconut plantations, and is devastating: it can destroy up to 90% of coconut production. The immature seeds are infested and desapped by larvae staying in the portion covered by the perianth of the immature seed; the seeds then drop off or survive deformed. Spraying with wettable sulfur 0.4% or with neem-based pesticides can give some relief, but is cumbersome and labor-intensive.

 

In Kerala (India), the main coconut pests are the coconut mite, the rhinoceros beetle, the red palm weevil and the coconut leaf caterpillar. Research into countermeasures to these pests has as of 2009 yielded no results; researchers from the Kerala Agricultural University and the Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasaragode continue to work on countermeasures. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has developed an innovative extension approach called the compact area group approach (CAGA) to combat coconut mites.

 

PRODUCTION AND CULTIVATION

Coconut palms are grown in more than 90 countries of the world, with a total production of 62 million tonnes per year (table). Most of the world production is in tropical Asia, with Indonesia, the Philippines and India accounting collectively for 73% of the world total (table).

 

CULTIVATION

Coconut trees are hard to establish in dry climates, and cannot grow there without frequent irrigation; in drought conditions, the new leaves do not open well, and older leaves may become desiccated; fruit also tends to be shed.

 

The extent of cultivation in the tropics is threatening a number of habitats, such as mangroves; an example of such damage to an ecoregion is in the Petenes mangroves of the Yucatán.

 

HARVESTING

In some parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia), trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. Training schools for pig-tailed macaques still exist both in southern Thailand and in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. Competitions are held each year to find the fastest harvester.

 

INDIA

Traditional areas of coconut cultivation in India are the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar. As per 2013-14 statistics from Coconut Development Board of Government of India, four southern states combined account for almost 92% of the total production in the country: Tamil Nadu (31.93%), Kerala (27.54%), Karnataka (23.26%), and Andhra Pradesh (8.43%). Other states, such as Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and those in the northeast (Tripura and Assam) account for the remaining productions. Though Kerala has the largest number of coconut trees, in terms of production per hectare, Tamil Nadu leads all other states. In Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore and Tirupur regions top the production list.

 

Various terms, such as copra and coir, are derived from the native Malayalam language. In Kerala, the coconut tree is called "Thengu" also termed as kalpa vriksham, which essentially means all parts of a coconut tree is useful some way or other. In Tamil Nadu, a coconut tree is called as "Thennai maram" and tender coconut is called as "Ilaneer" in the native language.

 

MALDIVES

The coconut is the national tree of the Maldives and is considered the most important plant in the country. A coconut tree is also included in the country's national emblem or coat of arms. Coconut trees are grown on all the islands. Before modern construction methods were introduced, coconut leaves were used as roofing material for many houses in the islands, while coconut timber was used to build houses and boats.

 

MIDDLE EAST

The main coconut-producing area in the Middle East is the Dhofar region of Oman, but they can be grown all along the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea coasts, because these seas are tropical and provide enough humidity (through seawater evaporation) for coconut trees to grow. The young coconut plants need to be nursed and irrigated with drip pipes until they are old enough (stem bulb development) to be irrigated with brackish water or seawater alone, after which they can be replanted on the beaches. In particular, the area around Salalah maintains large coconut plantations similar to those found across the Arabian Sea in Kerala. The reasons why coconut are cultivated only in Yemen's Al Mahrah and Hadramaut governorates and in the Sultanate of Oman, but not in other suitable areas in the Arabian Peninsula, may originate from the fact that Oman and Hadramaut had long dhow trade relations with Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Africa and Zanzibar, as well as southern India and China. Omani people needed the coir rope from the coconut fiber to stitch together their traditional high seas-going dhow vessels in which nails were never used. The 'know how' of coconut cultivation and necessary soil fixation and irrigation may have found its way into Omani, Hadrami and Al-Mahra culture by people who returned from those overseas areas.

 

The coconut cultivars grown in Oman are generally of the drought-resistant Indian "West Coast tall" (WC Tall) variety. Unlike the UAE, which grows mostly non-native dwarf or hybrid coconut cultivars imported from Florida for ornamental purposes, the slender, tall Omani coconut cultivars are relatively well-adapted to the Middle East's hot dry seasons, but need longer to reach maturity. The Middle East's hot, dry climate favors the development of coconut mites, which cause immature seed dropping and may cause brownish-gray discoloration on the coconut's outer green fiber.

 

The ancient coconut groves of Dhofar were mentioned by the medieval Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta in his writings, known as Al Rihla.[52] The annual rainy season known locally as Khareef or monsoon makes coconut cultivation easy on the Arabian east coast.

 

Coconut trees also are increasingly grown for decorative purposes along the coasts of the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the help of irrigation. The UAE has, however, imposed strict laws on mature coconut tree imports from other countries to reduce the spread of pests to other native palm trees, as the mixing of date and coconut trees poses a risk of cross-species palm pests, such as rhinoceros beetles and red palm weevils. The artificial landscaping adopted in Florida may have been the cause for lethal yellowing, a viral coconut palm disease that leads to the death of the tree. It is spread by host insects, that thrive on heavy turf grasses. Therefore, heavy turf grass environments (beach resorts and golf courses) also pose a major threat to local coconut trees. Traditionally, dessert banana plants and local wild beach flora such as Scaevola taccada and Ipomoea pes-caprae were used as humidity-supplying green undergrowth for coconut trees, mixed with sea almond and sea hibiscus. Due to growing sedentary life styles and heavy-handed landscaping, there has been a decline in these traditional farming and soil-fixing techniques.

 

SRI LANKA

An early mention of the planting of coconuts is found in the Mahavamsa during the reign of Agrabodhi II around 589 AD. Coconuts are common in the Sri Lankan diet and the main source of dietary fat.

 

UNITED STATES

In the United States coconut palms can be grown and reproduced outdoors without irrigation in Hawaii, southern and central Florida, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

In Florida, Coconut palms will grow from coastal Pinellas County and St. Petersburg southwards on Florida's west coast, and Melbourne southwards on Florida's east coast. The occasional coconut palm is seen north of these areas in favoured microclimates in Tampa and Clearwater, as well as around Cape Canaveral and Daytona Beach on the east coast. They reach fruiting maturity, but can be damaged or killed by the occasional winter freezes in these areas. In South Texas they may also be grown in favoured microclimates around the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, and as far north as Corpus Christi , however more severe cold snaps keep them from producing viable fruit.

 

AUSTRALIA

Coconuts are commonly grown around the northern coast of Australia, and in some warmer parts of New South Wales.

 

BERMUDA

Most of the tall mature coconut trees found in Bermuda were shipped to the island as seedlings on the decks of ships. In more recent years, the importation of coconuts was prohibited, therefore, a large proportion of the younger trees have been propagated from locally grown coconuts.

 

In the winter months, the growth rate of coconut trees declines due to cooler temperatures and people have commonly attributed this to the reduced yield of coconuts in comparison to tropical regions. However, whilst cooler winter temperatures may be a factor in reducing fruit production, the primary reason for the reduced yield is a lack of water. Bermuda's soil is generally very shallow (1.5 to 3 feet) and much of a coconut tree's root mass is found in the porous limestone underneath the soil. Due to the porosity of the limestone, Bermuda's coconut trees do not generally have a sufficient supply of water with which they are able to support a large number of fruit as rain water quickly drains down through the limestone layer to the water table which is far too deep for a coconut's roots to reach. This typically leads to a reduction in fruit yield (sometimes as little as one or two mature fruits) as well as a reduced milk content inside the coconut that often causes the fruit to be infertile.

 

Conversely, trees growing in close proximity to the sea almost universally yield a much greater volume of fruit as they are able to tap directly into the sea water which permeates the limestone in such areas. Not only do these trees produce a significantly higher yield, but also the fruit itself tends to be far more fertile due to the higher milk content. Trees found growing in Bermuda's marshy inland areas enjoy a similar degree of success as they are also able to tap directly into a constant supply of water.

 

EUROPE

As a tropical plant, coconut is not native to Europe, but grows in tropical territories of European countries, such as Martinique and Guadeloupe (France), the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal).

 

COOLER CLIMATES

In cooler climates (but not less than USDA Zone 9), a similar palm, the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), is used in landscaping. Its fruits are very similar to the coconut, but much smaller. The queen palm was originally classified in the genus Cocos along with the coconut, but was later reclassified in Syagrus. A recently discovered palm, Beccariophoenix alfredii from Madagascar, is nearly identical to the coconut, more so than the queen palm and can also be grown in slightly cooler climates than the coconut palm. Coconuts can only be grown in temperatures above 18 °C and need a daily temperature above 22 °C to produce fruit.

 

USES

The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the "tree of life".

 

COOKING

The various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses. The seed provides oil for frying, cooking, and making margarine. The white, fleshy part of the seed, the coconut meat, is used fresh or dried in cooking, especially in confections and desserts such as macaroons. Desiccated coconut or coconut milk made from it is frequently added to curries and other savory dishes. Coconut flour has also been developed for use in baking, to combat malnutrition. Coconut chips have been sold in the tourist regions of Hawaii and the Caribbean. Coconut butter is often used to describe solidified coconut oil, but has also been adopted as a name by certain specialty products made of coconut milk solids or puréed coconut meat and oil. Dried coconut is also used as the filling for many chocolate bars. Some dried coconut is purely coconut but others are manufactured with other ingredients, such as sugar, propylene glycol, salt, and sodium metabisulfite. Some countries in South East Asia use special coconut mutant called Kopyor (in Indonesian) or macapuno (in Philippines) as a dessert drinks.

 

NUTRITION

Per 100 gram serving with 354 calories, raw coconut meat supplies a high amount of total fat (33 grams), especially saturated fat (89% of total fat) and carbohydrates (24 grams) (table). Micronutrients in significant content include the dietary minerals, manganese, iron, phosphorus and zinc (table).

 

COCONUT WATER

Coconut water serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during its nuclear phase of development. Later, the endosperm matures and deposits onto the coconut rind during the cellular phase. It is consumed throughout the humid tropics, and has been introduced into the retail market as a processed sports drink. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young, immature coconuts, barring spoilage. Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar.

 

Per 100 gram (100 ml) serving, coconut water contains 19 calories and no significant content of essential nutrients.

 

COCONUT MILK

Coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, is obtained primarily by extracting juice by pressing the grated coconut white kernel or by passing hot water or milk through grated coconut, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It has a total fat content of 24%, most of which (89%) is saturated fat, with lauric acid as a major fatty acid. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate from the milk. The milk can be used to produce virgin coconut oil by controlled heating and removal of the oil fraction.

 

A protein-rich powder can be processed from coconut milk following centrifugation, separation and spray drying.

 

COCONUT OIL

Another byproduct of the coconut is coconut oil. It is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying. It can be used in liquid form as would other vegetable oils, or in solid form as would butter or lard.

 

TODDY AND NECTAR

The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut is drunk as neera, also known as toddy or tuba (Philippines), tuak (Indonesia and Malaysia) or karewe (fresh and not fermented, collected twice a day, for breakfast and dinner) in Kiribati. When left to ferment on its own, it becomes palm wine. Palm wine is distilled to produce arrack. In the Philippines, this alcoholic drink is called lambanog or "coconut vodka".

 

The sap can be reduced by boiling to create a sweet syrup or candy such as te kamamai in Kiribati or dhiyaa hakuru and addu bondi in the Maldives. It can be reduced further to yield coconut sugar also referred to as palm sugar or jaggery. A young, well-maintained tree can produce around 300 liters of toddy per year, while a 40-year-old tree may yield around 400 liters.

 

HEART OF PALM AND COCONUT SPROUT

Apical buds of adult plants are edible, and are known as "palm cabbage" or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy, as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads, sometimes called "millionaire's salad". Newly germinated coconuts contain an edible fluff of marshmallow-like consistency called coconut sprout, produced as the endosperm nourishes the developing embryo.

 

INDONESIA

Coconut is an indispensable ingredient in Indonesian cooking. Coconut meat, coconut milk and coconut water are often used in main courses, desserts and soups throughout the archipelago. In the island of Sumatra, the famous Rendang, the traditional beef stew from West Sumatra, chunks of beef are cooked in coconut milk along with other spices for hours until thickened. In Jakarta, "Soto Babat" or beef tripe soup also uses coconut milk. In the island of Java, the sweet and savoury "Tempe Bacem" is made by cooking tempeh with coconut water, coconut sugar and other spices until thickened. "Klapertart" is the famous Dutch-influenced dessert from Manado, North Celebes, that uses young coconut meat and coconut milk. In 2010, Indonesia increased its coconut production. It is now the world's second largest producer of coconuts. The gross production was 15 million tonnes. A sprouting coconut seed is the logo for Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia, the Indonesian Scouting organization. It can be seen on all the scouting paraphernalia that elementary (SMA) school children wear as well as on the scouting pins and flags.

 

PHILIPPINES

The Philippines is the world's largest producer of coconuts; the production of coconuts plays an important role in the economy. Coconuts in the Philippines are usually used in making main dishes, refreshments and desserts. Coconut juice is also a popular drink in the country. In the Philippines, particularly Cebu, rice is wrapped in coconut leaves for cooking and subsequent storage; these packets are called puso. Coconut milk, known as gata, and grated coconut flakes are used in the preparation of dishes such as laing, ginataan, bibingka, ube halaya, pitsi-pitsi, palitaw, buko and coconut pie. Coconut jam is made by mixing muscovado sugar with coconut milk. Coconut sport fruits are also harvested. One such variety of coconut is known as macapuno. Its meat is sweetened, cut into strands and sold in glass jars as coconut strings, sometimes labeled as "gelatinous mutant coconut". Coconut water can be fermented to make a different product - nata de coco (coconut gel).

 

VIETNAM

In Vietnam, coconut is grown abundantly across Central and Southern Vietnam, and especially in Bến Tre Province, often called the "land of the coconut". It is used to make coconut candy, caramel, and jelly. Coconut juice and coconut milk are used, especially in Vietnam's southern style of cooking, including kho, chè and curry (cà ri).

 

INDIA

In southern India, most common way of cooking vegetables is to add grated coconut and then steam them with spices fried in oil. People from southern India also make chutney, which involves grinding the coconut with salt, chillies, and whole spices. Uruttu chammanthi (granulated chutney) is eaten with rice or kanji (rice gruel). It is also invariably the main side dish served with idli, vadai, and dosai. Coconut ground with spices is also mixed in sambar and other various lunch dishes for extra taste. Dishes garnished with grated coconut are generally referred to as poduthol in North Malabar and thoran in rest of Kerala. Puttu is a culinary delicacy of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, in which layers of coconut alternate with layers of powdered rice, all of which fit into a bamboo stalk. Recently, this has been replaced with a steel or aluminium tube, which is then steamed over a pot. Coconut (Tamil: தேங்காய்) is regularly broken in the middle-class families in Tamil Nadu for food. Coconut meat can be eaten as a snack sweetened with jaggery or molasses. In Karnataka sweets are prepared using coconut and dry coconut "copra"., Like Kaie Obattu, Kobri mitai etc.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Traditional South Indian Breakfast

 

Idli also romanized Idly/iddly, plural idlis, is a traditional breakfast in South Indian households. Idli is savory cake that is popular throughout India and neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka. The cakes are usually two to three inches in diameter and are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils and rice. The fermentation process breaks down the starches so that they are more readily metabolized by the body.

 

Sambar is a lentil based vegetable stew or chowder based on a broth made with tamarind popular in South Indian and Sri Lankan Tamil cuisines adapted in each to its taste and environment.

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family).

 

It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. 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. 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.

 

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of "water" and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. 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; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is potable. 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 many societies that use it.

 

DESCRIPTION

PLANT

Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m 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.

 

FRUIT

Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like other fruits, it has three layers: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the "husk" of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of nontropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of a fiber, called coir, which has many traditional and commercial uses. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or "eyes" that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed.

 

A full-sized coconut weighs about 1.44 kg. It takes around 6,000 full-grown coconuts to produce a tonne of copra.

 

ROOTS

Unlike some other plants, the palm tree has neither a tap root nor root hairs, but has a fibrous root system.

 

The coconut palm root system consists of an abundance of thin roots that grow outward from the plant near the surface. Only a few of the roots penetrate deep into the soil for stability. The type of root system is known as fibrous or adventitious, and is a characteristic of grass species. Other types of large trees produce a single downward-growing tap root with a number of feeder roots growing from it.

 

Coconut palms continue to produce roots from the base of the stem throughout its life. The number of roots produced depends on the age of the tree and the environment, with more than 3,600 roots possible on a tree that's 60 to 70 years old.

 

Roots are usually less than about 3 inches in diameter and uniformly thick from the tree trunk to the root tip.

Inflorescence

 

The palm produces both the female and male flowers on the same inflorescence; thus, the palm is monoecious. Other sources use the term polygamomonoecious. The female flower is much larger than the male flower. Flowering occurs continuously. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating.

 

ETYMOLOGY

One of the earliest mentions of the coconut dates back to the One Thousand and One Nights story of Sinbad the Sailor; he is known to have bought and sold coconuts during his fifth voyage. Tenga, its Malayalam and Tamil name, was used in the detailed description of coconut found in Itinerario by Ludovico di Varthema published in 1510 and also in the later Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Even earlier, it was called nux indica, a name used by Marco Polo in 1280 while in Sumatra, taken from the Arabs who called it جوز هندي jawz hindī. Both names translate to "Indian nut". In the earliest description of the coconut palm known, given by Cosmos of Alexandria in his Topographia Christiana written about 545 AD, there is a reference to the argell tree and its drupe.

 

Historical evidence favors the European origin of the name "coconut", for no name is similar in any of the languages of India, where the Portuguese first found the fruit; and indeed Barbosa, Barros, and Garcia, in mentioning the Tamil/Malayalam name tenga, and Canarese narle, expressly say, "we call these fruits quoquos", "our people have given it the name of coco", and "that which we call coco, and the Malabars temga".

 

The OED states: "Portuguese and Spanish authors of the 16th c. agree in identifying the word with Portuguese and Spanish coco "grinning face, grin, grimace", also "bugbear, scarecrow", cognate with cocar "to grin, make a grimace"; the name being said to refer to the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its three holes. According to Losada, the name came from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The coconut shell reminded them of a ghost or witch in Portuguese folklore called coco (also côca). The first known recorded usage of the term is 1555.

 

The specific name nucifera is Latin for "nut-bearing".

Origin, domestication, and dispersal

 

ORIGIN

The origin of the plant is the subject of debate. O.F. Cook was one of the earliest modern researchers to draw conclusions about the location of origin of Cocos nucifera based on its current-day worldwide distribution. He hypothesized that the coconut originated in the Americas, based on his belief that American coconut populations predated European contact and because he considered pan-tropical distribution by ocean currents improbable. Thor Heyerdahl later used this hypothesis of the American origin of the coconut to support his theory that the Pacific Islanders originated in South America. However, more evidence exists for an Indo-Pacific origin either around Melanesia and Malesia or the Indian Ocean. The oldest fossils known of the modern coconut dating from the Eocene period from around 37 to 55 million years ago were found in Australia and India. However, older palm fossils such as some of nipa fruit have been found in the Americas. Since 1978, the work on tracing the probable origin and dispersal of Cocos nucifera has only recently been augmented by a publication on the germination rate of the coconut seednut and another on the importance of the coral atoll ecosystem. Briefly, the coconut originated in the coral atoll ecosystem — without human intervention — and required a thick husk and slow germination to survive and disperse.

 

DOMESTICATION

Coconuts could not reach inland locations without human intervention (to carry seednuts, plant seedlings, etc.) and it was early germination on the palm (vivipary) that was important, rather than increasing the number or size of the edible parts of a fruit that was already large enough. Human cultivation of the coconut selected, not for larger size, but for thinner husks and increased volume of endosperm, the solid “meat” or liquid “water” that provides the fruit its food value. Although these modifications for domestication would reduce the fruit’s ability to float, this ability would be irrelevant to a cultivated population.

 

Among modern C. nucifera, two major types or variants: a thick-husked, angular fruit and a thin-husked, spherical fruit with a higher proportion of endosperm reflect a trend of cultivation in C. nucifera: the first coconuts were of the niu kafa type, with thick husks to protect the seed, an angular, highly ridged shape to promote buoyancy during ocean dispersal, and a pointed base that allowed fruits to dig into the sand, preventing them from being washed away during germination on a new island. As early human communities began to harvest coconuts for eating and planting, they (perhaps unintentionally) selected for a larger endosperm to husk ratio and a broader, spherical base, which rendered the fruit useful as a cup or bowl, thus creating the niu vai type. The decreased buoyancy and increased fragility of this spherical, thin-husked fruit would not matter for a species that had started to be dispersed by humans and grown in plantations. Harries’ adoption of the Polynesian terms niu kafa and niu vai has now passed into general scientific discourse, and his hypothesis is generally accepted.

 

Variants of C. nucifera are also categorized as Tall (var. typica) or Dwarf (var. nana). The two groups are genetically distinct, with the Dwarf variety showing a greater degree of artificial selection for ornamental traits and for early germination and fruiting. The Tall variety is outcrossing while Dwarf palms are incrossing, which has led to a much greater degree of genetic diversity within the Tall group. It is believed that the Dwarf subgroup mutated from the Tall group under human selection pressure.

 

DISPERSAL

It is often stated that coconuts can travel 110 days, or 4,800 km, by sea and still be able to germinate. This figure has been questioned based on the extremely small sample size that forms the basis of the paper that makes this claim. Thor Heyerdahl provides an alternative, and much shorter, estimate based on his first-hand experience crossing the Pacific Ocean on the raft Kon-Tiki: "The nuts we had in baskets on deck remained edible and capable of germinating the whole way to Polynesia. But we had laid about half among the special provisions below deck, with the waves washing around them. Every single one of these was ruined by the sea water. And no coconut can float over the sea faster than a balsa raft moves with the wind behind it." He also notes that several of the nuts began to germinate by the time they had been ten weeks at sea, precluding an unassisted journey of 100 days or more. However, it is more than likely that the coconut variety Heyerdahl chose for his long sea voyage was of the large, fleshy, spherical niu vai type, which Harries observed to have a significantly shorter germination type and worse buoyancy than the uncultivated niu kafa type. Therefore, Heyerdahl’s observations cannot be considered conclusive when it comes to determining the independent dispersal ability of the uncultivated coconut.

 

Drift models based on wind and ocean currents have shown that coconuts could not have drifted across the Pacific unaided. This provides some circumstantial evidence that Austronesian peoples carried coconuts across the ocean and that they could not have dispersed worldwide without human agency. More recently, genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) has shed light on the movements of Austronesian peoples. By examining 10 microsatellite loci, researchers found two genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut - one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, admixture, the transfer of genetic material, evidently occurred between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, individuals from one population possibly could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to Madagascar and coastal east Africa, and exclude the Seychelles. This pattern coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, a genetically distinct subpopulation of coconut on the Pacific coast of Latin America has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect; however, its ancestral population is the Pacific coconut. This, together with their use of the South American sweet potato, suggests that Austronesian peoples may have sailed as far east as the Americas.

 

DISTRIBUTION

The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild are light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. Specimens have been collected from the sea as far north as Norway. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in Oceania. They have been found in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America for less than 500 years, but evidence of their presence on the Pacific coast of South America predates Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. They are now almost ubiquitous between 26°N and 26°S except for the interiors of Africa and South America.

  

NATURAL HABITAT

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity (70–80%+) for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity. However, they can be found in humid areas with low annual precipitation such as in Karachi, Pakistan, which receives only about 250 mm of rainfall per year, but is consistently warm and humid.

 

Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather. Some seasonal variation is tolerated, with good growth where mean summer temperatures are between 28 and 37 °C, and survival as long as winter temperatures are above 4–12 °C; they will survive brief drops to 0 °C. Severe frost is usually fatal, although they have been known to recover from temperatures of −4 °C. They may grow but not fruit properly in areas with insufficient warmth, such as Bermuda.

 

The conditions required for coconut trees to grow without any care are:

 

- Mean daily temperature above 12–13 °C every day of the year

- Mean annual rainfall above 1000 mm

- No or very little overhead canopy, since even small trees require direct sun

 

The main limiting factor for most locations which satisfy the rainfall and temperature requirements is canopy growth, except those locations near coastlines, where the sandy soil and salt spray limit the growth of most other trees.

 

DISEASES

Coconuts are susceptible to the phytoplasma disease lethal yellowing. One recently selected cultivar, the Maypan, has been bred for resistance to this disease.

 

PESTS

The coconut palm is damaged by the larvae of many Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species which feed on it, including Batrachedra spp.: B. arenosella, B. atriloqua (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), B. mathesoni (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), and B. nuciferae.

 

Brontispa longissima (coconut leaf beetle) feeds on young leaves, and damages both seedlings and mature coconut palms. In 2007, the Philippines imposed a quarantine in Metro Manila and 26 provinces to stop the spread of the pest and protect the $800 million Philippine coconut industry.

 

The fruit may also be damaged by eriophyid coconut mites (Eriophyes guerreronis). This mite infests coconut plantations, and is devastating: it can destroy up to 90% of coconut production. The immature seeds are infested and desapped by larvae staying in the portion covered by the perianth of the immature seed; the seeds then drop off or survive deformed. Spraying with wettable sulfur 0.4% or with neem-based pesticides can give some relief, but is cumbersome and labor-intensive.

 

In Kerala (India), the main coconut pests are the coconut mite, the rhinoceros beetle, the red palm weevil and the coconut leaf caterpillar. Research into countermeasures to these pests has as of 2009 yielded no results; researchers from the Kerala Agricultural University and the Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasaragode continue to work on countermeasures. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has developed an innovative extension approach called the compact area group approach (CAGA) to combat coconut mites.

 

PRODUCTION AND CULTIVATION

Coconut palms are grown in more than 90 countries of the world, with a total production of 62 million tonnes per year (table). Most of the world production is in tropical Asia, with Indonesia, the Philippines and India accounting collectively for 73% of the world total (table).

 

CULTIVATION

Coconut trees are hard to establish in dry climates, and cannot grow there without frequent irrigation; in drought conditions, the new leaves do not open well, and older leaves may become desiccated; fruit also tends to be shed.

 

The extent of cultivation in the tropics is threatening a number of habitats, such as mangroves; an example of such damage to an ecoregion is in the Petenes mangroves of the Yucatán.

 

HARVESTING

In some parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia), trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. Training schools for pig-tailed macaques still exist both in southern Thailand and in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. Competitions are held each year to find the fastest harvester.

 

INDIA

Traditional areas of coconut cultivation in India are the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar. As per 2013-14 statistics from Coconut Development Board of Government of India, four southern states combined account for almost 92% of the total production in the country: Tamil Nadu (31.93%), Kerala (27.54%), Karnataka (23.26%), and Andhra Pradesh (8.43%). Other states, such as Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and those in the northeast (Tripura and Assam) account for the remaining productions. Though Kerala has the largest number of coconut trees, in terms of production per hectare, Tamil Nadu leads all other states. In Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore and Tirupur regions top the production list.

 

Various terms, such as copra and coir, are derived from the native Malayalam language. In Kerala, the coconut tree is called "Thengu" also termed as kalpa vriksham, which essentially means all parts of a coconut tree is useful some way or other. In Tamil Nadu, a coconut tree is called as "Thennai maram" and tender coconut is called as "Ilaneer" in the native language.

 

MALDIVES

The coconut is the national tree of the Maldives and is considered the most important plant in the country. A coconut tree is also included in the country's national emblem or coat of arms. Coconut trees are grown on all the islands. Before modern construction methods were introduced, coconut leaves were used as roofing material for many houses in the islands, while coconut timber was used to build houses and boats.

 

MIDDLE EAST

The main coconut-producing area in the Middle East is the Dhofar region of Oman, but they can be grown all along the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea coasts, because these seas are tropical and provide enough humidity (through seawater evaporation) for coconut trees to grow. The young coconut plants need to be nursed and irrigated with drip pipes until they are old enough (stem bulb development) to be irrigated with brackish water or seawater alone, after which they can be replanted on the beaches. In particular, the area around Salalah maintains large coconut plantations similar to those found across the Arabian Sea in Kerala. The reasons why coconut are cultivated only in Yemen's Al Mahrah and Hadramaut governorates and in the Sultanate of Oman, but not in other suitable areas in the Arabian Peninsula, may originate from the fact that Oman and Hadramaut had long dhow trade relations with Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Africa and Zanzibar, as well as southern India and China. Omani people needed the coir rope from the coconut fiber to stitch together their traditional high seas-going dhow vessels in which nails were never used. The 'know how' of coconut cultivation and necessary soil fixation and irrigation may have found its way into Omani, Hadrami and Al-Mahra culture by people who returned from those overseas areas.

 

The coconut cultivars grown in Oman are generally of the drought-resistant Indian "West Coast tall" (WC Tall) variety. Unlike the UAE, which grows mostly non-native dwarf or hybrid coconut cultivars imported from Florida for ornamental purposes, the slender, tall Omani coconut cultivars are relatively well-adapted to the Middle East's hot dry seasons, but need longer to reach maturity. The Middle East's hot, dry climate favors the development of coconut mites, which cause immature seed dropping and may cause brownish-gray discoloration on the coconut's outer green fiber.

 

The ancient coconut groves of Dhofar were mentioned by the medieval Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta in his writings, known as Al Rihla.[52] The annual rainy season known locally as Khareef or monsoon makes coconut cultivation easy on the Arabian east coast.

 

Coconut trees also are increasingly grown for decorative purposes along the coasts of the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the help of irrigation. The UAE has, however, imposed strict laws on mature coconut tree imports from other countries to reduce the spread of pests to other native palm trees, as the mixing of date and coconut trees poses a risk of cross-species palm pests, such as rhinoceros beetles and red palm weevils. The artificial landscaping adopted in Florida may have been the cause for lethal yellowing, a viral coconut palm disease that leads to the death of the tree. It is spread by host insects, that thrive on heavy turf grasses. Therefore, heavy turf grass environments (beach resorts and golf courses) also pose a major threat to local coconut trees. Traditionally, dessert banana plants and local wild beach flora such as Scaevola taccada and Ipomoea pes-caprae were used as humidity-supplying green undergrowth for coconut trees, mixed with sea almond and sea hibiscus. Due to growing sedentary life styles and heavy-handed landscaping, there has been a decline in these traditional farming and soil-fixing techniques.

 

SRI LANKA

An early mention of the planting of coconuts is found in the Mahavamsa during the reign of Agrabodhi II around 589 AD. Coconuts are common in the Sri Lankan diet and the main source of dietary fat.

 

UNITED STATES

In the United States coconut palms can be grown and reproduced outdoors without irrigation in Hawaii, southern and central Florida, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

In Florida, Coconut palms will grow from coastal Pinellas County and St. Petersburg southwards on Florida's west coast, and Melbourne southwards on Florida's east coast. The occasional coconut palm is seen north of these areas in favoured microclimates in Tampa and Clearwater, as well as around Cape Canaveral and Daytona Beach on the east coast. They reach fruiting maturity, but can be damaged or killed by the occasional winter freezes in these areas. In South Texas they may also be grown in favoured microclimates around the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, and as far north as Corpus Christi , however more severe cold snaps keep them from producing viable fruit.

 

AUSTRALIA

Coconuts are commonly grown around the northern coast of Australia, and in some warmer parts of New South Wales.

 

BERMUDA

Most of the tall mature coconut trees found in Bermuda were shipped to the island as seedlings on the decks of ships. In more recent years, the importation of coconuts was prohibited, therefore, a large proportion of the younger trees have been propagated from locally grown coconuts.

 

In the winter months, the growth rate of coconut trees declines due to cooler temperatures and people have commonly attributed this to the reduced yield of coconuts in comparison to tropical regions. However, whilst cooler winter temperatures may be a factor in reducing fruit production, the primary reason for the reduced yield is a lack of water. Bermuda's soil is generally very shallow (1.5 to 3 feet) and much of a coconut tree's root mass is found in the porous limestone underneath the soil. Due to the porosity of the limestone, Bermuda's coconut trees do not generally have a sufficient supply of water with which they are able to support a large number of fruit as rain water quickly drains down through the limestone layer to the water table which is far too deep for a coconut's roots to reach. This typically leads to a reduction in fruit yield (sometimes as little as one or two mature fruits) as well as a reduced milk content inside the coconut that often causes the fruit to be infertile.

 

Conversely, trees growing in close proximity to the sea almost universally yield a much greater volume of fruit as they are able to tap directly into the sea water which permeates the limestone in such areas. Not only do these trees produce a significantly higher yield, but also the fruit itself tends to be far more fertile due to the higher milk content. Trees found growing in Bermuda's marshy inland areas enjoy a similar degree of success as they are also able to tap directly into a constant supply of water.

 

EUROPE

As a tropical plant, coconut is not native to Europe, but grows in tropical territories of European countries, such as Martinique and Guadeloupe (France), the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal).

 

COOLER CLIMATES

In cooler climates (but not less than USDA Zone 9), a similar palm, the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), is used in landscaping. Its fruits are very similar to the coconut, but much smaller. The queen palm was originally classified in the genus Cocos along with the coconut, but was later reclassified in Syagrus. A recently discovered palm, Beccariophoenix alfredii from Madagascar, is nearly identical to the coconut, more so than the queen palm and can also be grown in slightly cooler climates than the coconut palm. Coconuts can only be grown in temperatures above 18 °C and need a daily temperature above 22 °C to produce fruit.

 

USES

The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the "tree of life".

 

COOKING

The various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses. The seed provides oil for frying, cooking, and making margarine. The white, fleshy part of the seed, the coconut meat, is used fresh or dried in cooking, especially in confections and desserts such as macaroons. Desiccated coconut or coconut milk made from it is frequently added to curries and other savory dishes. Coconut flour has also been developed for use in baking, to combat malnutrition. Coconut chips have been sold in the tourist regions of Hawaii and the Caribbean. Coconut butter is often used to describe solidified coconut oil, but has also been adopted as a name by certain specialty products made of coconut milk solids or puréed coconut meat and oil. Dried coconut is also used as the filling for many chocolate bars. Some dried coconut is purely coconut but others are manufactured with other ingredients, such as sugar, propylene glycol, salt, and sodium metabisulfite. Some countries in South East Asia use special coconut mutant called Kopyor (in Indonesian) or macapuno (in Philippines) as a dessert drinks.

 

NUTRITION

Per 100 gram serving with 354 calories, raw coconut meat supplies a high amount of total fat (33 grams), especially saturated fat (89% of total fat) and carbohydrates (24 grams) (table). Micronutrients in significant content include the dietary minerals, manganese, iron, phosphorus and zinc (table).

 

COCONUT WATER

Coconut water serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during its nuclear phase of development. Later, the endosperm matures and deposits onto the coconut rind during the cellular phase. It is consumed throughout the humid tropics, and has been introduced into the retail market as a processed sports drink. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young, immature coconuts, barring spoilage. Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar.

 

Per 100 gram (100 ml) serving, coconut water contains 19 calories and no significant content of essential nutrients.

 

COCONUT MILK

Coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, is obtained primarily by extracting juice by pressing the grated coconut white kernel or by passing hot water or milk through grated coconut, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It has a total fat content of 24%, most of which (89%) is saturated fat, with lauric acid as a major fatty acid. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate from the milk. The milk can be used to produce virgin coconut oil by controlled heating and removal of the oil fraction.

 

A protein-rich powder can be processed from coconut milk following centrifugation, separation and spray drying.

 

COCONUT OIL

Another byproduct of the coconut is coconut oil. It is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying. It can be used in liquid form as would other vegetable oils, or in solid form as would butter or lard.

 

TODDY AND NECTAR

The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut is drunk as neera, also known as toddy or tuba (Philippines), tuak (Indonesia and Malaysia) or karewe (fresh and not fermented, collected twice a day, for breakfast and dinner) in Kiribati. When left to ferment on its own, it becomes palm wine. Palm wine is distilled to produce arrack. In the Philippines, this alcoholic drink is called lambanog or "coconut vodka".

 

The sap can be reduced by boiling to create a sweet syrup or candy such as te kamamai in Kiribati or dhiyaa hakuru and addu bondi in the Maldives. It can be reduced further to yield coconut sugar also referred to as palm sugar or jaggery. A young, well-maintained tree can produce around 300 liters of toddy per year, while a 40-year-old tree may yield around 400 liters.

 

HEART OF PALM AND COCONUT SPROUT

Apical buds of adult plants are edible, and are known as "palm cabbage" or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy, as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads, sometimes called "millionaire's salad". Newly germinated coconuts contain an edible fluff of marshmallow-like consistency called coconut sprout, produced as the endosperm nourishes the developing embryo.

 

INDONESIA

Coconut is an indispensable ingredient in Indonesian cooking. Coconut meat, coconut milk and coconut water are often used in main courses, desserts and soups throughout the archipelago. In the island of Sumatra, the famous Rendang, the traditional beef stew from West Sumatra, chunks of beef are cooked in coconut milk along with other spices for hours until thickened. In Jakarta, "Soto Babat" or beef tripe soup also uses coconut milk. In the island of Java, the sweet and savoury "Tempe Bacem" is made by cooking tempeh with coconut water, coconut sugar and other spices until thickened. "Klapertart" is the famous Dutch-influenced dessert from Manado, North Celebes, that uses young coconut meat and coconut milk. In 2010, Indonesia increased its coconut production. It is now the world's second largest producer of coconuts. The gross production was 15 million tonnes. A sprouting coconut seed is the logo for Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia, the Indonesian Scouting organization. It can be seen on all the scouting paraphernalia that elementary (SMA) school children wear as well as on the scouting pins and flags.

 

PHILIPPINES

The Philippines is the world's largest producer of coconuts; the production of coconuts plays an important role in the economy. Coconuts in the Philippines are usually used in making main dishes, refreshments and desserts. Coconut juice is also a popular drink in the country. In the Philippines, particularly Cebu, rice is wrapped in coconut leaves for cooking and subsequent storage; these packets are called puso. Coconut milk, known as gata, and grated coconut flakes are used in the preparation of dishes such as laing, ginataan, bibingka, ube halaya, pitsi-pitsi, palitaw, buko and coconut pie. Coconut jam is made by mixing muscovado sugar with coconut milk. Coconut sport fruits are also harvested. One such variety of coconut is known as macapuno. Its meat is sweetened, cut into strands and sold in glass jars as coconut strings, sometimes labeled as "gelatinous mutant coconut". Coconut water can be fermented to make a different product - nata de coco (coconut gel).

 

VIETNAM

In Vietnam, coconut is grown abundantly across Central and Southern Vietnam, and especially in Bến Tre Province, often called the "land of the coconut". It is used to make coconut candy, caramel, and jelly. Coconut juice and coconut milk are used, especially in Vietnam's southern style of cooking, including kho, chè and curry (cà ri).

 

INDIA

In southern India, most common way of cooking vegetables is to add grated coconut and then steam them with spices fried in oil. People from southern India also make chutney, which involves grinding the coconut with salt, chillies, and whole spices. Uruttu chammanthi (granulated chutney) is eaten with rice or kanji (rice gruel). It is also invariably the main side dish served with idli, vadai, and dosai. Coconut ground with spices is also mixed in sambar and other various lunch dishes for extra taste. Dishes garnished with grated coconut are generally referred to as poduthol in North Malabar and thoran in rest of Kerala. Puttu is a culinary delicacy of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, in which layers of coconut alternate with layers of powdered rice, all of which fit into a bamboo stalk. Recently, this has been replaced with a steel or aluminium tube, which is then steamed over a pot. Coconut (Tamil: தேங்காய்) is regularly broken in the middle-class families in Tamil Nadu for food. Coconut meat can be eaten as a snack sweetened with jaggery or molasses. In Karnataka sweets are prepared using coconut and dry coconut "copra"., Like Kaie Obattu, Kobri mitai etc.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Incredibly messy work getting the hole in the vadai, but pretty pleased with this dish. Served with a sambhar of okra, brinjal and drumstick, with a coconut chutney. As good as any I've eaten in Karnataka!

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vada_(food)

Vadai is a traditional South Indian food known from antiquity.Although they are commonly prepared at home, vadas are as well a typical street food in the Indian Subcontinent and Sri Lanka. They are usually a morning food, but in street stalls and in railway stations, as well as inside the Indian Railways, they are available as a snack all through the day.. Vadas are preferably eaten freshly fried, while still hot and crunchy and is served with a variety of dips ranging from Sambar to chutney to curd.

 

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family).

 

It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. 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. 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.

 

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of "water" and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. 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; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is potable. 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 many societies that use it.

 

DESCRIPTION

PLANT

Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m 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.

 

FRUIT

Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like other fruits, it has three layers: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the "husk" of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of nontropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of a fiber, called coir, which has many traditional and commercial uses. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or "eyes" that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed.

 

A full-sized coconut weighs about 1.44 kg. It takes around 6,000 full-grown coconuts to produce a tonne of copra.

 

ROOTS

Unlike some other plants, the palm tree has neither a tap root nor root hairs, but has a fibrous root system.

 

The coconut palm root system consists of an abundance of thin roots that grow outward from the plant near the surface. Only a few of the roots penetrate deep into the soil for stability. The type of root system is known as fibrous or adventitious, and is a characteristic of grass species. Other types of large trees produce a single downward-growing tap root with a number of feeder roots growing from it.

 

Coconut palms continue to produce roots from the base of the stem throughout its life. The number of roots produced depends on the age of the tree and the environment, with more than 3,600 roots possible on a tree that's 60 to 70 years old.

 

Roots are usually less than about 3 inches in diameter and uniformly thick from the tree trunk to the root tip.

Inflorescence

 

The palm produces both the female and male flowers on the same inflorescence; thus, the palm is monoecious. Other sources use the term polygamomonoecious. The female flower is much larger than the male flower. Flowering occurs continuously. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating.

 

ETYMOLOGY

One of the earliest mentions of the coconut dates back to the One Thousand and One Nights story of Sinbad the Sailor; he is known to have bought and sold coconuts during his fifth voyage. Tenga, its Malayalam and Tamil name, was used in the detailed description of coconut found in Itinerario by Ludovico di Varthema published in 1510 and also in the later Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Even earlier, it was called nux indica, a name used by Marco Polo in 1280 while in Sumatra, taken from the Arabs who called it جوز هندي jawz hindī. Both names translate to "Indian nut". In the earliest description of the coconut palm known, given by Cosmos of Alexandria in his Topographia Christiana written about 545 AD, there is a reference to the argell tree and its drupe.

 

Historical evidence favors the European origin of the name "coconut", for no name is similar in any of the languages of India, where the Portuguese first found the fruit; and indeed Barbosa, Barros, and Garcia, in mentioning the Tamil/Malayalam name tenga, and Canarese narle, expressly say, "we call these fruits quoquos", "our people have given it the name of coco", and "that which we call coco, and the Malabars temga".

 

The OED states: "Portuguese and Spanish authors of the 16th c. agree in identifying the word with Portuguese and Spanish coco "grinning face, grin, grimace", also "bugbear, scarecrow", cognate with cocar "to grin, make a grimace"; the name being said to refer to the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its three holes. According to Losada, the name came from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The coconut shell reminded them of a ghost or witch in Portuguese folklore called coco (also côca). The first known recorded usage of the term is 1555.

 

The specific name nucifera is Latin for "nut-bearing".

Origin, domestication, and dispersal

 

ORIGIN

The origin of the plant is the subject of debate. O.F. Cook was one of the earliest modern researchers to draw conclusions about the location of origin of Cocos nucifera based on its current-day worldwide distribution. He hypothesized that the coconut originated in the Americas, based on his belief that American coconut populations predated European contact and because he considered pan-tropical distribution by ocean currents improbable. Thor Heyerdahl later used this hypothesis of the American origin of the coconut to support his theory that the Pacific Islanders originated in South America. However, more evidence exists for an Indo-Pacific origin either around Melanesia and Malesia or the Indian Ocean. The oldest fossils known of the modern coconut dating from the Eocene period from around 37 to 55 million years ago were found in Australia and India. However, older palm fossils such as some of nipa fruit have been found in the Americas. Since 1978, the work on tracing the probable origin and dispersal of Cocos nucifera has only recently been augmented by a publication on the germination rate of the coconut seednut and another on the importance of the coral atoll ecosystem. Briefly, the coconut originated in the coral atoll ecosystem — without human intervention — and required a thick husk and slow germination to survive and disperse.

 

DOMESTICATION

Coconuts could not reach inland locations without human intervention (to carry seednuts, plant seedlings, etc.) and it was early germination on the palm (vivipary) that was important, rather than increasing the number or size of the edible parts of a fruit that was already large enough. Human cultivation of the coconut selected, not for larger size, but for thinner husks and increased volume of endosperm, the solid “meat” or liquid “water” that provides the fruit its food value. Although these modifications for domestication would reduce the fruit’s ability to float, this ability would be irrelevant to a cultivated population.

 

Among modern C. nucifera, two major types or variants: a thick-husked, angular fruit and a thin-husked, spherical fruit with a higher proportion of endosperm reflect a trend of cultivation in C. nucifera: the first coconuts were of the niu kafa type, with thick husks to protect the seed, an angular, highly ridged shape to promote buoyancy during ocean dispersal, and a pointed base that allowed fruits to dig into the sand, preventing them from being washed away during germination on a new island. As early human communities began to harvest coconuts for eating and planting, they (perhaps unintentionally) selected for a larger endosperm to husk ratio and a broader, spherical base, which rendered the fruit useful as a cup or bowl, thus creating the niu vai type. The decreased buoyancy and increased fragility of this spherical, thin-husked fruit would not matter for a species that had started to be dispersed by humans and grown in plantations. Harries’ adoption of the Polynesian terms niu kafa and niu vai has now passed into general scientific discourse, and his hypothesis is generally accepted.

 

Variants of C. nucifera are also categorized as Tall (var. typica) or Dwarf (var. nana). The two groups are genetically distinct, with the Dwarf variety showing a greater degree of artificial selection for ornamental traits and for early germination and fruiting. The Tall variety is outcrossing while Dwarf palms are incrossing, which has led to a much greater degree of genetic diversity within the Tall group. It is believed that the Dwarf subgroup mutated from the Tall group under human selection pressure.

 

DISPERSAL

It is often stated that coconuts can travel 110 days, or 4,800 km, by sea and still be able to germinate. This figure has been questioned based on the extremely small sample size that forms the basis of the paper that makes this claim. Thor Heyerdahl provides an alternative, and much shorter, estimate based on his first-hand experience crossing the Pacific Ocean on the raft Kon-Tiki: "The nuts we had in baskets on deck remained edible and capable of germinating the whole way to Polynesia. But we had laid about half among the special provisions below deck, with the waves washing around them. Every single one of these was ruined by the sea water. And no coconut can float over the sea faster than a balsa raft moves with the wind behind it." He also notes that several of the nuts began to germinate by the time they had been ten weeks at sea, precluding an unassisted journey of 100 days or more. However, it is more than likely that the coconut variety Heyerdahl chose for his long sea voyage was of the large, fleshy, spherical niu vai type, which Harries observed to have a significantly shorter germination type and worse buoyancy than the uncultivated niu kafa type. Therefore, Heyerdahl’s observations cannot be considered conclusive when it comes to determining the independent dispersal ability of the uncultivated coconut.

 

Drift models based on wind and ocean currents have shown that coconuts could not have drifted across the Pacific unaided. This provides some circumstantial evidence that Austronesian peoples carried coconuts across the ocean and that they could not have dispersed worldwide without human agency. More recently, genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) has shed light on the movements of Austronesian peoples. By examining 10 microsatellite loci, researchers found two genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut - one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, admixture, the transfer of genetic material, evidently occurred between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, individuals from one population possibly could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to Madagascar and coastal east Africa, and exclude the Seychelles. This pattern coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, a genetically distinct subpopulation of coconut on the Pacific coast of Latin America has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect; however, its ancestral population is the Pacific coconut. This, together with their use of the South American sweet potato, suggests that Austronesian peoples may have sailed as far east as the Americas.

 

DISTRIBUTION

The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild are light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. Specimens have been collected from the sea as far north as Norway. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in Oceania. They have been found in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America for less than 500 years, but evidence of their presence on the Pacific coast of South America predates Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. They are now almost ubiquitous between 26°N and 26°S except for the interiors of Africa and South America.

  

NATURAL HABITAT

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity (70–80%+) for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity. However, they can be found in humid areas with low annual precipitation such as in Karachi, Pakistan, which receives only about 250 mm of rainfall per year, but is consistently warm and humid.

 

Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather. Some seasonal variation is tolerated, with good growth where mean summer temperatures are between 28 and 37 °C, and survival as long as winter temperatures are above 4–12 °C; they will survive brief drops to 0 °C. Severe frost is usually fatal, although they have been known to recover from temperatures of −4 °C. They may grow but not fruit properly in areas with insufficient warmth, such as Bermuda.

 

The conditions required for coconut trees to grow without any care are:

 

- Mean daily temperature above 12–13 °C every day of the year

- Mean annual rainfall above 1000 mm

- No or very little overhead canopy, since even small trees require direct sun

 

The main limiting factor for most locations which satisfy the rainfall and temperature requirements is canopy growth, except those locations near coastlines, where the sandy soil and salt spray limit the growth of most other trees.

 

DISEASES

Coconuts are susceptible to the phytoplasma disease lethal yellowing. One recently selected cultivar, the Maypan, has been bred for resistance to this disease.

 

PESTS

The coconut palm is damaged by the larvae of many Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species which feed on it, including Batrachedra spp.: B. arenosella, B. atriloqua (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), B. mathesoni (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), and B. nuciferae.

 

Brontispa longissima (coconut leaf beetle) feeds on young leaves, and damages both seedlings and mature coconut palms. In 2007, the Philippines imposed a quarantine in Metro Manila and 26 provinces to stop the spread of the pest and protect the $800 million Philippine coconut industry.

 

The fruit may also be damaged by eriophyid coconut mites (Eriophyes guerreronis). This mite infests coconut plantations, and is devastating: it can destroy up to 90% of coconut production. The immature seeds are infested and desapped by larvae staying in the portion covered by the perianth of the immature seed; the seeds then drop off or survive deformed. Spraying with wettable sulfur 0.4% or with neem-based pesticides can give some relief, but is cumbersome and labor-intensive.

 

In Kerala (India), the main coconut pests are the coconut mite, the rhinoceros beetle, the red palm weevil and the coconut leaf caterpillar. Research into countermeasures to these pests has as of 2009 yielded no results; researchers from the Kerala Agricultural University and the Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasaragode continue to work on countermeasures. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has developed an innovative extension approach called the compact area group approach (CAGA) to combat coconut mites.

 

PRODUCTION AND CULTIVATION

Coconut palms are grown in more than 90 countries of the world, with a total production of 62 million tonnes per year (table). Most of the world production is in tropical Asia, with Indonesia, the Philippines and India accounting collectively for 73% of the world total (table).

 

CULTIVATION

Coconut trees are hard to establish in dry climates, and cannot grow there without frequent irrigation; in drought conditions, the new leaves do not open well, and older leaves may become desiccated; fruit also tends to be shed.

 

The extent of cultivation in the tropics is threatening a number of habitats, such as mangroves; an example of such damage to an ecoregion is in the Petenes mangroves of the Yucatán.

 

HARVESTING

In some parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia), trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. Training schools for pig-tailed macaques still exist both in southern Thailand and in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. Competitions are held each year to find the fastest harvester.

 

INDIA

Traditional areas of coconut cultivation in India are the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar. As per 2013-14 statistics from Coconut Development Board of Government of India, four southern states combined account for almost 92% of the total production in the country: Tamil Nadu (31.93%), Kerala (27.54%), Karnataka (23.26%), and Andhra Pradesh (8.43%). Other states, such as Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and those in the northeast (Tripura and Assam) account for the remaining productions. Though Kerala has the largest number of coconut trees, in terms of production per hectare, Tamil Nadu leads all other states. In Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore and Tirupur regions top the production list.

 

Various terms, such as copra and coir, are derived from the native Malayalam language. In Kerala, the coconut tree is called "Thengu" also termed as kalpa vriksham, which essentially means all parts of a coconut tree is useful some way or other. In Tamil Nadu, a coconut tree is called as "Thennai maram" and tender coconut is called as "Ilaneer" in the native language.

 

MALDIVES

The coconut is the national tree of the Maldives and is considered the most important plant in the country. A coconut tree is also included in the country's national emblem or coat of arms. Coconut trees are grown on all the islands. Before modern construction methods were introduced, coconut leaves were used as roofing material for many houses in the islands, while coconut timber was used to build houses and boats.

 

MIDDLE EAST

The main coconut-producing area in the Middle East is the Dhofar region of Oman, but they can be grown all along the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea coasts, because these seas are tropical and provide enough humidity (through seawater evaporation) for coconut trees to grow. The young coconut plants need to be nursed and irrigated with drip pipes until they are old enough (stem bulb development) to be irrigated with brackish water or seawater alone, after which they can be replanted on the beaches. In particular, the area around Salalah maintains large coconut plantations similar to those found across the Arabian Sea in Kerala. The reasons why coconut are cultivated only in Yemen's Al Mahrah and Hadramaut governorates and in the Sultanate of Oman, but not in other suitable areas in the Arabian Peninsula, may originate from the fact that Oman and Hadramaut had long dhow trade relations with Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Africa and Zanzibar, as well as southern India and China. Omani people needed the coir rope from the coconut fiber to stitch together their traditional high seas-going dhow vessels in which nails were never used. The 'know how' of coconut cultivation and necessary soil fixation and irrigation may have found its way into Omani, Hadrami and Al-Mahra culture by people who returned from those overseas areas.

 

The coconut cultivars grown in Oman are generally of the drought-resistant Indian "West Coast tall" (WC Tall) variety. Unlike the UAE, which grows mostly non-native dwarf or hybrid coconut cultivars imported from Florida for ornamental purposes, the slender, tall Omani coconut cultivars are relatively well-adapted to the Middle East's hot dry seasons, but need longer to reach maturity. The Middle East's hot, dry climate favors the development of coconut mites, which cause immature seed dropping and may cause brownish-gray discoloration on the coconut's outer green fiber.

 

The ancient coconut groves of Dhofar were mentioned by the medieval Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta in his writings, known as Al Rihla.[52] The annual rainy season known locally as Khareef or monsoon makes coconut cultivation easy on the Arabian east coast.

 

Coconut trees also are increasingly grown for decorative purposes along the coasts of the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the help of irrigation. The UAE has, however, imposed strict laws on mature coconut tree imports from other countries to reduce the spread of pests to other native palm trees, as the mixing of date and coconut trees poses a risk of cross-species palm pests, such as rhinoceros beetles and red palm weevils. The artificial landscaping adopted in Florida may have been the cause for lethal yellowing, a viral coconut palm disease that leads to the death of the tree. It is spread by host insects, that thrive on heavy turf grasses. Therefore, heavy turf grass environments (beach resorts and golf courses) also pose a major threat to local coconut trees. Traditionally, dessert banana plants and local wild beach flora such as Scaevola taccada and Ipomoea pes-caprae were used as humidity-supplying green undergrowth for coconut trees, mixed with sea almond and sea hibiscus. Due to growing sedentary life styles and heavy-handed landscaping, there has been a decline in these traditional farming and soil-fixing techniques.

 

SRI LANKA

An early mention of the planting of coconuts is found in the Mahavamsa during the reign of Agrabodhi II around 589 AD. Coconuts are common in the Sri Lankan diet and the main source of dietary fat.

 

UNITED STATES

In the United States coconut palms can be grown and reproduced outdoors without irrigation in Hawaii, southern and central Florida, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

In Florida, Coconut palms will grow from coastal Pinellas County and St. Petersburg southwards on Florida's west coast, and Melbourne southwards on Florida's east coast. The occasional coconut palm is seen north of these areas in favoured microclimates in Tampa and Clearwater, as well as around Cape Canaveral and Daytona Beach on the east coast. They reach fruiting maturity, but can be damaged or killed by the occasional winter freezes in these areas. In South Texas they may also be grown in favoured microclimates around the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, and as far north as Corpus Christi , however more severe cold snaps keep them from producing viable fruit.

 

AUSTRALIA

Coconuts are commonly grown around the northern coast of Australia, and in some warmer parts of New South Wales.

 

BERMUDA

Most of the tall mature coconut trees found in Bermuda were shipped to the island as seedlings on the decks of ships. In more recent years, the importation of coconuts was prohibited, therefore, a large proportion of the younger trees have been propagated from locally grown coconuts.

 

In the winter months, the growth rate of coconut trees declines due to cooler temperatures and people have commonly attributed this to the reduced yield of coconuts in comparison to tropical regions. However, whilst cooler winter temperatures may be a factor in reducing fruit production, the primary reason for the reduced yield is a lack of water. Bermuda's soil is generally very shallow (1.5 to 3 feet) and much of a coconut tree's root mass is found in the porous limestone underneath the soil. Due to the porosity of the limestone, Bermuda's coconut trees do not generally have a sufficient supply of water with which they are able to support a large number of fruit as rain water quickly drains down through the limestone layer to the water table which is far too deep for a coconut's roots to reach. This typically leads to a reduction in fruit yield (sometimes as little as one or two mature fruits) as well as a reduced milk content inside the coconut that often causes the fruit to be infertile.

 

Conversely, trees growing in close proximity to the sea almost universally yield a much greater volume of fruit as they are able to tap directly into the sea water which permeates the limestone in such areas. Not only do these trees produce a significantly higher yield, but also the fruit itself tends to be far more fertile due to the higher milk content. Trees found growing in Bermuda's marshy inland areas enjoy a similar degree of success as they are also able to tap directly into a constant supply of water.

 

EUROPE

As a tropical plant, coconut is not native to Europe, but grows in tropical territories of European countries, such as Martinique and Guadeloupe (France), the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal).

 

COOLER CLIMATES

In cooler climates (but not less than USDA Zone 9), a similar palm, the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), is used in landscaping. Its fruits are very similar to the coconut, but much smaller. The queen palm was originally classified in the genus Cocos along with the coconut, but was later reclassified in Syagrus. A recently discovered palm, Beccariophoenix alfredii from Madagascar, is nearly identical to the coconut, more so than the queen palm and can also be grown in slightly cooler climates than the coconut palm. Coconuts can only be grown in temperatures above 18 °C and need a daily temperature above 22 °C to produce fruit.

 

USES

The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the "tree of life".

 

COOKING

The various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses. The seed provides oil for frying, cooking, and making margarine. The white, fleshy part of the seed, the coconut meat, is used fresh or dried in cooking, especially in confections and desserts such as macaroons. Desiccated coconut or coconut milk made from it is frequently added to curries and other savory dishes. Coconut flour has also been developed for use in baking, to combat malnutrition. Coconut chips have been sold in the tourist regions of Hawaii and the Caribbean. Coconut butter is often used to describe solidified coconut oil, but has also been adopted as a name by certain specialty products made of coconut milk solids or puréed coconut meat and oil. Dried coconut is also used as the filling for many chocolate bars. Some dried coconut is purely coconut but others are manufactured with other ingredients, such as sugar, propylene glycol, salt, and sodium metabisulfite. Some countries in South East Asia use special coconut mutant called Kopyor (in Indonesian) or macapuno (in Philippines) as a dessert drinks.

 

NUTRITION

Per 100 gram serving with 354 calories, raw coconut meat supplies a high amount of total fat (33 grams), especially saturated fat (89% of total fat) and carbohydrates (24 grams) (table). Micronutrients in significant content include the dietary minerals, manganese, iron, phosphorus and zinc (table).

 

COCONUT WATER

Coconut water serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during its nuclear phase of development. Later, the endosperm matures and deposits onto the coconut rind during the cellular phase. It is consumed throughout the humid tropics, and has been introduced into the retail market as a processed sports drink. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young, immature coconuts, barring spoilage. Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar.

 

Per 100 gram (100 ml) serving, coconut water contains 19 calories and no significant content of essential nutrients.

 

COCONUT MILK

Coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, is obtained primarily by extracting juice by pressing the grated coconut white kernel or by passing hot water or milk through grated coconut, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It has a total fat content of 24%, most of which (89%) is saturated fat, with lauric acid as a major fatty acid. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate from the milk. The milk can be used to produce virgin coconut oil by controlled heating and removal of the oil fraction.

 

A protein-rich powder can be processed from coconut milk following centrifugation, separation and spray drying.

 

COCONUT OIL

Another byproduct of the coconut is coconut oil. It is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying. It can be used in liquid form as would other vegetable oils, or in solid form as would butter or lard.

 

TODDY AND NECTAR

The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut is drunk as neera, also known as toddy or tuba (Philippines), tuak (Indonesia and Malaysia) or karewe (fresh and not fermented, collected twice a day, for breakfast and dinner) in Kiribati. When left to ferment on its own, it becomes palm wine. Palm wine is distilled to produce arrack. In the Philippines, this alcoholic drink is called lambanog or "coconut vodka".

 

The sap can be reduced by boiling to create a sweet syrup or candy such as te kamamai in Kiribati or dhiyaa hakuru and addu bondi in the Maldives. It can be reduced further to yield coconut sugar also referred to as palm sugar or jaggery. A young, well-maintained tree can produce around 300 liters of toddy per year, while a 40-year-old tree may yield around 400 liters.

 

HEART OF PALM AND COCONUT SPROUT

Apical buds of adult plants are edible, and are known as "palm cabbage" or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy, as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads, sometimes called "millionaire's salad". Newly germinated coconuts contain an edible fluff of marshmallow-like consistency called coconut sprout, produced as the endosperm nourishes the developing embryo.

 

INDONESIA

Coconut is an indispensable ingredient in Indonesian cooking. Coconut meat, coconut milk and coconut water are often used in main courses, desserts and soups throughout the archipelago. In the island of Sumatra, the famous Rendang, the traditional beef stew from West Sumatra, chunks of beef are cooked in coconut milk along with other spices for hours until thickened. In Jakarta, "Soto Babat" or beef tripe soup also uses coconut milk. In the island of Java, the sweet and savoury "Tempe Bacem" is made by cooking tempeh with coconut water, coconut sugar and other spices until thickened. "Klapertart" is the famous Dutch-influenced dessert from Manado, North Celebes, that uses young coconut meat and coconut milk. In 2010, Indonesia increased its coconut production. It is now the world's second largest producer of coconuts. The gross production was 15 million tonnes. A sprouting coconut seed is the logo for Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia, the Indonesian Scouting organization. It can be seen on all the scouting paraphernalia that elementary (SMA) school children wear as well as on the scouting pins and flags.

 

PHILIPPINES

The Philippines is the world's largest producer of coconuts; the production of coconuts plays an important role in the economy. Coconuts in the Philippines are usually used in making main dishes, refreshments and desserts. Coconut juice is also a popular drink in the country. In the Philippines, particularly Cebu, rice is wrapped in coconut leaves for cooking and subsequent storage; these packets are called puso. Coconut milk, known as gata, and grated coconut flakes are used in the preparation of dishes such as laing, ginataan, bibingka, ube halaya, pitsi-pitsi, palitaw, buko and coconut pie. Coconut jam is made by mixing muscovado sugar with coconut milk. Coconut sport fruits are also harvested. One such variety of coconut is known as macapuno. Its meat is sweetened, cut into strands and sold in glass jars as coconut strings, sometimes labeled as "gelatinous mutant coconut". Coconut water can be fermented to make a different product - nata de coco (coconut gel).

 

VIETNAM

In Vietnam, coconut is grown abundantly across Central and Southern Vietnam, and especially in Bến Tre Province, often called the "land of the coconut". It is used to make coconut candy, caramel, and jelly. Coconut juice and coconut milk are used, especially in Vietnam's southern style of cooking, including kho, chè and curry (cà ri).

 

INDIA

In southern India, most common way of cooking vegetables is to add grated coconut and then steam them with spices fried in oil. People from southern India also make chutney, which involves grinding the coconut with salt, chillies, and whole spices. Uruttu chammanthi (granulated chutney) is eaten with rice or kanji (rice gruel). It is also invariably the main side dish served with idli, vadai, and dosai. Coconut ground with spices is also mixed in sambar and other various lunch dishes for extra taste. Dishes garnished with grated coconut are generally referred to as poduthol in North Malabar and thoran in rest of Kerala. Puttu is a culinary delicacy of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, in which layers of coconut alternate with layers of powdered rice, all of which fit into a bamboo stalk. Recently, this has been replaced with a steel or aluminium tube, which is then steamed over a pot. Coconut (Tamil: தேங்காய்) is regularly broken in the middle-class families in Tamil Nadu for food. Coconut meat can be eaten as a snack sweetened with jaggery or molasses. In Karnataka sweets are prepared using coconut and dry coconut "copra"., Like Kaie Obattu, Kobri mitai etc.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Thosai, appam, roti canai, roti bom, bitter gourd fritters, vadai - Lotus, Jalan Gasing

My helping on a banana leaf, with a masala tea.

 

Thosai, appam, roti canai, roti bom, bitter gourd fritters, vadai - Lotus, Jalan Gasing

 

. . . this are young coconuts. First you drink the fresh coconut-water with a straw through a small hole. Then the coconut is cut in the middle and you can eat the young flesh with a spoon like a soft-cream. Very tasty - very delicious - very healthy

__________________

 

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family).

 

It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. 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. 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.

 

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of "water" and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. 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; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is potable. 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 many societies that use it.

 

DESCRIPTION

PLANT

Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m 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.

 

FRUIT

Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like other fruits, it has three layers: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the "husk" of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of nontropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of a fiber, called coir, which has many traditional and commercial uses. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or "eyes" that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed.

 

A full-sized coconut weighs about 1.44 kg. It takes around 6,000 full-grown coconuts to produce a tonne of copra.

 

ROOTS

Unlike some other plants, the palm tree has neither a tap root nor root hairs, but has a fibrous root system.

 

The coconut palm root system consists of an abundance of thin roots that grow outward from the plant near the surface. Only a few of the roots penetrate deep into the soil for stability. The type of root system is known as fibrous or adventitious, and is a characteristic of grass species. Other types of large trees produce a single downward-growing tap root with a number of feeder roots growing from it.

 

Coconut palms continue to produce roots from the base of the stem throughout its life. The number of roots produced depends on the age of the tree and the environment, with more than 3,600 roots possible on a tree that's 60 to 70 years old.

 

Roots are usually less than about 3 inches in diameter and uniformly thick from the tree trunk to the root tip.

Inflorescence

 

The palm produces both the female and male flowers on the same inflorescence; thus, the palm is monoecious. Other sources use the term polygamomonoecious. The female flower is much larger than the male flower. Flowering occurs continuously. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating.

 

ETYMOLOGY

One of the earliest mentions of the coconut dates back to the One Thousand and One Nights story of Sinbad the Sailor; he is known to have bought and sold coconuts during his fifth voyage. Tenga, its Malayalam and Tamil name, was used in the detailed description of coconut found in Itinerario by Ludovico di Varthema published in 1510 and also in the later Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Even earlier, it was called nux indica, a name used by Marco Polo in 1280 while in Sumatra, taken from the Arabs who called it جوز هندي jawz hindī. Both names translate to "Indian nut". In the earliest description of the coconut palm known, given by Cosmos of Alexandria in his Topographia Christiana written about 545 AD, there is a reference to the argell tree and its drupe.

 

Historical evidence favors the European origin of the name "coconut", for no name is similar in any of the languages of India, where the Portuguese first found the fruit; and indeed Barbosa, Barros, and Garcia, in mentioning the Tamil/Malayalam name tenga, and Canarese narle, expressly say, "we call these fruits quoquos", "our people have given it the name of coco", and "that which we call coco, and the Malabars temga".

 

The OED states: "Portuguese and Spanish authors of the 16th c. agree in identifying the word with Portuguese and Spanish coco "grinning face, grin, grimace", also "bugbear, scarecrow", cognate with cocar "to grin, make a grimace"; the name being said to refer to the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its three holes. According to Losada, the name came from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The coconut shell reminded them of a ghost or witch in Portuguese folklore called coco (also côca). The first known recorded usage of the term is 1555.

 

The specific name nucifera is Latin for "nut-bearing".

Origin, domestication, and dispersal

 

ORIGIN

The origin of the plant is the subject of debate. O.F. Cook was one of the earliest modern researchers to draw conclusions about the location of origin of Cocos nucifera based on its current-day worldwide distribution. He hypothesized that the coconut originated in the Americas, based on his belief that American coconut populations predated European contact and because he considered pan-tropical distribution by ocean currents improbable. Thor Heyerdahl later used this hypothesis of the American origin of the coconut to support his theory that the Pacific Islanders originated in South America. However, more evidence exists for an Indo-Pacific origin either around Melanesia and Malesia or the Indian Ocean. The oldest fossils known of the modern coconut dating from the Eocene period from around 37 to 55 million years ago were found in Australia and India. However, older palm fossils such as some of nipa fruit have been found in the Americas. Since 1978, the work on tracing the probable origin and dispersal of Cocos nucifera has only recently been augmented by a publication on the germination rate of the coconut seednut and another on the importance of the coral atoll ecosystem. Briefly, the coconut originated in the coral atoll ecosystem — without human intervention — and required a thick husk and slow germination to survive and disperse.

 

DOMESTICATION

Coconuts could not reach inland locations without human intervention (to carry seednuts, plant seedlings, etc.) and it was early germination on the palm (vivipary) that was important, rather than increasing the number or size of the edible parts of a fruit that was already large enough. Human cultivation of the coconut selected, not for larger size, but for thinner husks and increased volume of endosperm, the solid “meat” or liquid “water” that provides the fruit its food value. Although these modifications for domestication would reduce the fruit’s ability to float, this ability would be irrelevant to a cultivated population.

 

Among modern C. nucifera, two major types or variants: a thick-husked, angular fruit and a thin-husked, spherical fruit with a higher proportion of endosperm reflect a trend of cultivation in C. nucifera: the first coconuts were of the niu kafa type, with thick husks to protect the seed, an angular, highly ridged shape to promote buoyancy during ocean dispersal, and a pointed base that allowed fruits to dig into the sand, preventing them from being washed away during germination on a new island. As early human communities began to harvest coconuts for eating and planting, they (perhaps unintentionally) selected for a larger endosperm to husk ratio and a broader, spherical base, which rendered the fruit useful as a cup or bowl, thus creating the niu vai type. The decreased buoyancy and increased fragility of this spherical, thin-husked fruit would not matter for a species that had started to be dispersed by humans and grown in plantations. Harries’ adoption of the Polynesian terms niu kafa and niu vai has now passed into general scientific discourse, and his hypothesis is generally accepted.

 

Variants of C. nucifera are also categorized as Tall (var. typica) or Dwarf (var. nana). The two groups are genetically distinct, with the Dwarf variety showing a greater degree of artificial selection for ornamental traits and for early germination and fruiting. The Tall variety is outcrossing while Dwarf palms are incrossing, which has led to a much greater degree of genetic diversity within the Tall group. It is believed that the Dwarf subgroup mutated from the Tall group under human selection pressure.

 

DISPERSAL

It is often stated that coconuts can travel 110 days, or 4,800 km, by sea and still be able to germinate. This figure has been questioned based on the extremely small sample size that forms the basis of the paper that makes this claim. Thor Heyerdahl provides an alternative, and much shorter, estimate based on his first-hand experience crossing the Pacific Ocean on the raft Kon-Tiki: "The nuts we had in baskets on deck remained edible and capable of germinating the whole way to Polynesia. But we had laid about half among the special provisions below deck, with the waves washing around them. Every single one of these was ruined by the sea water. And no coconut can float over the sea faster than a balsa raft moves with the wind behind it." He also notes that several of the nuts began to germinate by the time they had been ten weeks at sea, precluding an unassisted journey of 100 days or more. However, it is more than likely that the coconut variety Heyerdahl chose for his long sea voyage was of the large, fleshy, spherical niu vai type, which Harries observed to have a significantly shorter germination type and worse buoyancy than the uncultivated niu kafa type. Therefore, Heyerdahl’s observations cannot be considered conclusive when it comes to determining the independent dispersal ability of the uncultivated coconut.

 

Drift models based on wind and ocean currents have shown that coconuts could not have drifted across the Pacific unaided. This provides some circumstantial evidence that Austronesian peoples carried coconuts across the ocean and that they could not have dispersed worldwide without human agency. More recently, genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) has shed light on the movements of Austronesian peoples. By examining 10 microsatellite loci, researchers found two genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut - one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, admixture, the transfer of genetic material, evidently occurred between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, individuals from one population possibly could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to Madagascar and coastal east Africa, and exclude the Seychelles. This pattern coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, a genetically distinct subpopulation of coconut on the Pacific coast of Latin America has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect; however, its ancestral population is the Pacific coconut. This, together with their use of the South American sweet potato, suggests that Austronesian peoples may have sailed as far east as the Americas.

 

DISTRIBUTION

The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild are light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. Specimens have been collected from the sea as far north as Norway. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in Oceania. They have been found in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America for less than 500 years, but evidence of their presence on the Pacific coast of South America predates Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. They are now almost ubiquitous between 26°N and 26°S except for the interiors of Africa and South America.

  

NATURAL HABITAT

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity (70–80%+) for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity. However, they can be found in humid areas with low annual precipitation such as in Karachi, Pakistan, which receives only about 250 mm of rainfall per year, but is consistently warm and humid.

 

Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather. Some seasonal variation is tolerated, with good growth where mean summer temperatures are between 28 and 37 °C, and survival as long as winter temperatures are above 4–12 °C; they will survive brief drops to 0 °C. Severe frost is usually fatal, although they have been known to recover from temperatures of −4 °C. They may grow but not fruit properly in areas with insufficient warmth, such as Bermuda.

 

The conditions required for coconut trees to grow without any care are:

 

- Mean daily temperature above 12–13 °C every day of the year

- Mean annual rainfall above 1000 mm

- No or very little overhead canopy, since even small trees require direct sun

 

The main limiting factor for most locations which satisfy the rainfall and temperature requirements is canopy growth, except those locations near coastlines, where the sandy soil and salt spray limit the growth of most other trees.

 

DISEASES

Coconuts are susceptible to the phytoplasma disease lethal yellowing. One recently selected cultivar, the Maypan, has been bred for resistance to this disease.

 

PESTS

The coconut palm is damaged by the larvae of many Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species which feed on it, including Batrachedra spp.: B. arenosella, B. atriloqua (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), B. mathesoni (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), and B. nuciferae.

 

Brontispa longissima (coconut leaf beetle) feeds on young leaves, and damages both seedlings and mature coconut palms. In 2007, the Philippines imposed a quarantine in Metro Manila and 26 provinces to stop the spread of the pest and protect the $800 million Philippine coconut industry.

 

The fruit may also be damaged by eriophyid coconut mites (Eriophyes guerreronis). This mite infests coconut plantations, and is devastating: it can destroy up to 90% of coconut production. The immature seeds are infested and desapped by larvae staying in the portion covered by the perianth of the immature seed; the seeds then drop off or survive deformed. Spraying with wettable sulfur 0.4% or with neem-based pesticides can give some relief, but is cumbersome and labor-intensive.

 

In Kerala (India), the main coconut pests are the coconut mite, the rhinoceros beetle, the red palm weevil and the coconut leaf caterpillar. Research into countermeasures to these pests has as of 2009 yielded no results; researchers from the Kerala Agricultural University and the Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasaragode continue to work on countermeasures. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has developed an innovative extension approach called the compact area group approach (CAGA) to combat coconut mites.

 

PRODUCTION AND CULTIVATION

Coconut palms are grown in more than 90 countries of the world, with a total production of 62 million tonnes per year (table). Most of the world production is in tropical Asia, with Indonesia, the Philippines and India accounting collectively for 73% of the world total (table).

 

CULTIVATION

Coconut trees are hard to establish in dry climates, and cannot grow there without frequent irrigation; in drought conditions, the new leaves do not open well, and older leaves may become desiccated; fruit also tends to be shed.

 

The extent of cultivation in the tropics is threatening a number of habitats, such as mangroves; an example of such damage to an ecoregion is in the Petenes mangroves of the Yucatán.

 

HARVESTING

In some parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia), trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. Training schools for pig-tailed macaques still exist both in southern Thailand and in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. Competitions are held each year to find the fastest harvester.

 

INDIA

Traditional areas of coconut cultivation in India are the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar. As per 2013-14 statistics from Coconut Development Board of Government of India, four southern states combined account for almost 92% of the total production in the country: Tamil Nadu (31.93%), Kerala (27.54%), Karnataka (23.26%), and Andhra Pradesh (8.43%). Other states, such as Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and those in the northeast (Tripura and Assam) account for the remaining productions. Though Kerala has the largest number of coconut trees, in terms of production per hectare, Tamil Nadu leads all other states. In Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore and Tirupur regions top the production list.

 

Various terms, such as copra and coir, are derived from the native Malayalam language. In Kerala, the coconut tree is called "Thengu" also termed as kalpa vriksham, which essentially means all parts of a coconut tree is useful some way or other. In Tamil Nadu, a coconut tree is called as "Thennai maram" and tender coconut is called as "Ilaneer" in the native language.

 

MALDIVES

The coconut is the national tree of the Maldives and is considered the most important plant in the country. A coconut tree is also included in the country's national emblem or coat of arms. Coconut trees are grown on all the islands. Before modern construction methods were introduced, coconut leaves were used as roofing material for many houses in the islands, while coconut timber was used to build houses and boats.

 

MIDDLE EAST

The main coconut-producing area in the Middle East is the Dhofar region of Oman, but they can be grown all along the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea coasts, because these seas are tropical and provide enough humidity (through seawater evaporation) for coconut trees to grow. The young coconut plants need to be nursed and irrigated with drip pipes until they are old enough (stem bulb development) to be irrigated with brackish water or seawater alone, after which they can be replanted on the beaches. In particular, the area around Salalah maintains large coconut plantations similar to those found across the Arabian Sea in Kerala. The reasons why coconut are cultivated only in Yemen's Al Mahrah and Hadramaut governorates and in the Sultanate of Oman, but not in other suitable areas in the Arabian Peninsula, may originate from the fact that Oman and Hadramaut had long dhow trade relations with Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Africa and Zanzibar, as well as southern India and China. Omani people needed the coir rope from the coconut fiber to stitch together their traditional high seas-going dhow vessels in which nails were never used. The 'know how' of coconut cultivation and necessary soil fixation and irrigation may have found its way into Omani, Hadrami and Al-Mahra culture by people who returned from those overseas areas.

 

The coconut cultivars grown in Oman are generally of the drought-resistant Indian "West Coast tall" (WC Tall) variety. Unlike the UAE, which grows mostly non-native dwarf or hybrid coconut cultivars imported from Florida for ornamental purposes, the slender, tall Omani coconut cultivars are relatively well-adapted to the Middle East's hot dry seasons, but need longer to reach maturity. The Middle East's hot, dry climate favors the development of coconut mites, which cause immature seed dropping and may cause brownish-gray discoloration on the coconut's outer green fiber.

 

The ancient coconut groves of Dhofar were mentioned by the medieval Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta in his writings, known as Al Rihla.[52] The annual rainy season known locally as Khareef or monsoon makes coconut cultivation easy on the Arabian east coast.

 

Coconut trees also are increasingly grown for decorative purposes along the coasts of the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the help of irrigation. The UAE has, however, imposed strict laws on mature coconut tree imports from other countries to reduce the spread of pests to other native palm trees, as the mixing of date and coconut trees poses a risk of cross-species palm pests, such as rhinoceros beetles and red palm weevils. The artificial landscaping adopted in Florida may have been the cause for lethal yellowing, a viral coconut palm disease that leads to the death of the tree. It is spread by host insects, that thrive on heavy turf grasses. Therefore, heavy turf grass environments (beach resorts and golf courses) also pose a major threat to local coconut trees. Traditionally, dessert banana plants and local wild beach flora such as Scaevola taccada and Ipomoea pes-caprae were used as humidity-supplying green undergrowth for coconut trees, mixed with sea almond and sea hibiscus. Due to growing sedentary life styles and heavy-handed landscaping, there has been a decline in these traditional farming and soil-fixing techniques.

 

SRI LANKA

An early mention of the planting of coconuts is found in the Mahavamsa during the reign of Agrabodhi II around 589 AD. Coconuts are common in the Sri Lankan diet and the main source of dietary fat.

 

UNITED STATES

In the United States coconut palms can be grown and reproduced outdoors without irrigation in Hawaii, southern and central Florida, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

In Florida, Coconut palms will grow from coastal Pinellas County and St. Petersburg southwards on Florida's west coast, and Melbourne southwards on Florida's east coast. The occasional coconut palm is seen north of these areas in favoured microclimates in Tampa and Clearwater, as well as around Cape Canaveral and Daytona Beach on the east coast. They reach fruiting maturity, but can be damaged or killed by the occasional winter freezes in these areas. In South Texas they may also be grown in favoured microclimates around the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, and as far north as Corpus Christi , however more severe cold snaps keep them from producing viable fruit.

 

AUSTRALIA

Coconuts are commonly grown around the northern coast of Australia, and in some warmer parts of New South Wales.

 

BERMUDA

Most of the tall mature coconut trees found in Bermuda were shipped to the island as seedlings on the decks of ships. In more recent years, the importation of coconuts was prohibited, therefore, a large proportion of the younger trees have been propagated from locally grown coconuts.

 

In the winter months, the growth rate of coconut trees declines due to cooler temperatures and people have commonly attributed this to the reduced yield of coconuts in comparison to tropical regions. However, whilst cooler winter temperatures may be a factor in reducing fruit production, the primary reason for the reduced yield is a lack of water. Bermuda's soil is generally very shallow (1.5 to 3 feet) and much of a coconut tree's root mass is found in the porous limestone underneath the soil. Due to the porosity of the limestone, Bermuda's coconut trees do not generally have a sufficient supply of water with which they are able to support a large number of fruit as rain water quickly drains down through the limestone layer to the water table which is far too deep for a coconut's roots to reach. This typically leads to a reduction in fruit yield (sometimes as little as one or two mature fruits) as well as a reduced milk content inside the coconut that often causes the fruit to be infertile.

 

Conversely, trees growing in close proximity to the sea almost universally yield a much greater volume of fruit as they are able to tap directly into the sea water which permeates the limestone in such areas. Not only do these trees produce a significantly higher yield, but also the fruit itself tends to be far more fertile due to the higher milk content. Trees found growing in Bermuda's marshy inland areas enjoy a similar degree of success as they are also able to tap directly into a constant supply of water.

 

EUROPE

As a tropical plant, coconut is not native to Europe, but grows in tropical territories of European countries, such as Martinique and Guadeloupe (France), the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal).

 

COOLER CLIMATES

In cooler climates (but not less than USDA Zone 9), a similar palm, the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), is used in landscaping. Its fruits are very similar to the coconut, but much smaller. The queen palm was originally classified in the genus Cocos along with the coconut, but was later reclassified in Syagrus. A recently discovered palm, Beccariophoenix alfredii from Madagascar, is nearly identical to the coconut, more so than the queen palm and can also be grown in slightly cooler climates than the coconut palm. Coconuts can only be grown in temperatures above 18 °C and need a daily temperature above 22 °C to produce fruit.

 

USES

The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the "tree of life".

 

COOKING

The various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses. The seed provides oil for frying, cooking, and making margarine. The white, fleshy part of the seed, the coconut meat, is used fresh or dried in cooking, especially in confections and desserts such as macaroons. Desiccated coconut or coconut milk made from it is frequently added to curries and other savory dishes. Coconut flour has also been developed for use in baking, to combat malnutrition. Coconut chips have been sold in the tourist regions of Hawaii and the Caribbean. Coconut butter is often used to describe solidified coconut oil, but has also been adopted as a name by certain specialty products made of coconut milk solids or puréed coconut meat and oil. Dried coconut is also used as the filling for many chocolate bars. Some dried coconut is purely coconut but others are manufactured with other ingredients, such as sugar, propylene glycol, salt, and sodium metabisulfite. Some countries in South East Asia use special coconut mutant called Kopyor (in Indonesian) or macapuno (in Philippines) as a dessert drinks.

 

NUTRITION

Per 100 gram serving with 354 calories, raw coconut meat supplies a high amount of total fat (33 grams), especially saturated fat (89% of total fat) and carbohydrates (24 grams) (table). Micronutrients in significant content include the dietary minerals, manganese, iron, phosphorus and zinc (table).

 

COCONUT WATER

Coconut water serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during its nuclear phase of development. Later, the endosperm matures and deposits onto the coconut rind during the cellular phase. It is consumed throughout the humid tropics, and has been introduced into the retail market as a processed sports drink. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young, immature coconuts, barring spoilage. Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar.

 

Per 100 gram (100 ml) serving, coconut water contains 19 calories and no significant content of essential nutrients.

 

COCONUT MILK

Coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, is obtained primarily by extracting juice by pressing the grated coconut white kernel or by passing hot water or milk through grated coconut, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It has a total fat content of 24%, most of which (89%) is saturated fat, with lauric acid as a major fatty acid. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate from the milk. The milk can be used to produce virgin coconut oil by controlled heating and removal of the oil fraction.

 

A protein-rich powder can be processed from coconut milk following centrifugation, separation and spray drying.

 

COCONUT OIL

Another byproduct of the coconut is coconut oil. It is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying. It can be used in liquid form as would other vegetable oils, or in solid form as would butter or lard.

 

TODDY AND NECTAR

The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut is drunk as neera, also known as toddy or tuba (Philippines), tuak (Indonesia and Malaysia) or karewe (fresh and not fermented, collected twice a day, for breakfast and dinner) in Kiribati. When left to ferment on its own, it becomes palm wine. Palm wine is distilled to produce arrack. In the Philippines, this alcoholic drink is called lambanog or "coconut vodka".

 

The sap can be reduced by boiling to create a sweet syrup or candy such as te kamamai in Kiribati or dhiyaa hakuru and addu bondi in the Maldives. It can be reduced further to yield coconut sugar also referred to as palm sugar or jaggery. A young, well-maintained tree can produce around 300 liters of toddy per year, while a 40-year-old tree may yield around 400 liters.

 

HEART OF PALM AND COCONUT SPROUT

Apical buds of adult plants are edible, and are known as "palm cabbage" or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy, as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads, sometimes called "millionaire's salad". Newly germinated coconuts contain an edible fluff of marshmallow-like consistency called coconut sprout, produced as the endosperm nourishes the developing embryo.

 

INDONESIA

Coconut is an indispensable ingredient in Indonesian cooking. Coconut meat, coconut milk and coconut water are often used in main courses, desserts and soups throughout the archipelago. In the island of Sumatra, the famous Rendang, the traditional beef stew from West Sumatra, chunks of beef are cooked in coconut milk along with other spices for hours until thickened. In Jakarta, "Soto Babat" or beef tripe soup also uses coconut milk. In the island of Java, the sweet and savoury "Tempe Bacem" is made by cooking tempeh with coconut water, coconut sugar and other spices until thickened. "Klapertart" is the famous Dutch-influenced dessert from Manado, North Celebes, that uses young coconut meat and coconut milk. In 2010, Indonesia increased its coconut production. It is now the world's second largest producer of coconuts. The gross production was 15 million tonnes. A sprouting coconut seed is the logo for Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia, the Indonesian Scouting organization. It can be seen on all the scouting paraphernalia that elementary (SMA) school children wear as well as on the scouting pins and flags.

 

PHILIPPINES

The Philippines is the world's largest producer of coconuts; the production of coconuts plays an important role in the economy. Coconuts in the Philippines are usually used in making main dishes, refreshments and desserts. Coconut juice is also a popular drink in the country. In the Philippines, particularly Cebu, rice is wrapped in coconut leaves for cooking and subsequent storage; these packets are called puso. Coconut milk, known as gata, and grated coconut flakes are used in the preparation of dishes such as laing, ginataan, bibingka, ube halaya, pitsi-pitsi, palitaw, buko and coconut pie. Coconut jam is made by mixing muscovado sugar with coconut milk. Coconut sport fruits are also harvested. One such variety of coconut is known as macapuno. Its meat is sweetened, cut into strands and sold in glass jars as coconut strings, sometimes labeled as "gelatinous mutant coconut". Coconut water can be fermented to make a different product - nata de coco (coconut gel).

 

VIETNAM

In Vietnam, coconut is grown abundantly across Central and Southern Vietnam, and especially in Bến Tre Province, often called the "land of the coconut". It is used to make coconut candy, caramel, and jelly. Coconut juice and coconut milk are used, especially in Vietnam's southern style of cooking, including kho, chè and curry (cà ri).

 

INDIA

In southern India, most common way of cooking vegetables is to add grated coconut and then steam them with spices fried in oil. People from southern India also make chutney, which involves grinding the coconut with salt, chillies, and whole spices. Uruttu chammanthi (granulated chutney) is eaten with rice or kanji (rice gruel). It is also invariably the main side dish served with idli, vadai, and dosai. Coconut ground with spices is also mixed in sambar and other various lunch dishes for extra taste. Dishes garnished with grated coconut are generally referred to as poduthol in North Malabar and thoran in rest of Kerala. Puttu is a culinary delicacy of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, in which layers of coconut alternate with layers of powdered rice, all of which fit into a bamboo stalk. Recently, this has been replaced with a steel or aluminium tube, which is then steamed over a pot. Coconut (Tamil: தேங்காய்) is regularly broken in the middle-class families in Tamil Nadu for food. Coconut meat can be eaten as a snack sweetened with jaggery or molasses. In Karnataka sweets are prepared using coconut and dry coconut "copra"., Like Kaie Obattu, Kobri mitai etc.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Sambar or sambhar pronounced "saambaar", is a dish common in southern India and Sri Lanka, made of lentils (usually red gram, also called toor dal in North India, and thuvaram paruppu in Tamil Nadu, South India).

 

tamilfestivals.blogspot.com/

 

the white thing= idly aka idli

pea and onion uppatham

vegetable uppatham

spinach dosa- wow!

masala dosa -A masala dosa is made by stuffing a dosa with a lightly cooked filling of potatoes, fried onions and spices. It wraps the dosa around a onion and potato curry.

wada-aka vada - the donut looking thing...A vada (also vadai, wada, vade), pronounced 'vah-daa' or 'vah-die', is a savoury snack from South India, shaped like a doughnut and made from lentil or potato.

   

DSCN1249

Savoury lentil dumplings served with sambar. Garnished with onions, tomato and chopped cilantro.

Vadai is a savoury Tamil snack shaped like a doughnut and made from black lentil / black lentil.

 

It is served as a popular light meal along with banana at eateries in all parts of Sri Lanka.

 

Mouthwatering vadai and payasam on banana leaf exquisitely sums up traditional Tamil mid day meal.

 

Vadai has also taken flight with the subcontinent diaspora, and its an increasing choice as finger food with restaurant goers around the globe.

 

tamilfestivals.blogspot.com/

 

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family).

 

It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. 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. 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.

 

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of "water" and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. 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; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is potable. 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 many societies that use it.

 

DESCRIPTION

PLANT

Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m 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.

 

FRUIT

Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like other fruits, it has three layers: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the "husk" of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of nontropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of a fiber, called coir, which has many traditional and commercial uses. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or "eyes" that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed.

 

A full-sized coconut weighs about 1.44 kg. It takes around 6,000 full-grown coconuts to produce a tonne of copra.

 

ROOTS

Unlike some other plants, the palm tree has neither a tap root nor root hairs, but has a fibrous root system.

 

The coconut palm root system consists of an abundance of thin roots that grow outward from the plant near the surface. Only a few of the roots penetrate deep into the soil for stability. The type of root system is known as fibrous or adventitious, and is a characteristic of grass species. Other types of large trees produce a single downward-growing tap root with a number of feeder roots growing from it.

 

Coconut palms continue to produce roots from the base of the stem throughout its life. The number of roots produced depends on the age of the tree and the environment, with more than 3,600 roots possible on a tree that's 60 to 70 years old.

 

Roots are usually less than about 3 inches in diameter and uniformly thick from the tree trunk to the root tip.

Inflorescence

 

The palm produces both the female and male flowers on the same inflorescence; thus, the palm is monoecious. Other sources use the term polygamomonoecious. The female flower is much larger than the male flower. Flowering occurs continuously. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating.

 

ETYMOLOGY

One of the earliest mentions of the coconut dates back to the One Thousand and One Nights story of Sinbad the Sailor; he is known to have bought and sold coconuts during his fifth voyage. Tenga, its Malayalam and Tamil name, was used in the detailed description of coconut found in Itinerario by Ludovico di Varthema published in 1510 and also in the later Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Even earlier, it was called nux indica, a name used by Marco Polo in 1280 while in Sumatra, taken from the Arabs who called it جوز هندي jawz hindī. Both names translate to "Indian nut". In the earliest description of the coconut palm known, given by Cosmos of Alexandria in his Topographia Christiana written about 545 AD, there is a reference to the argell tree and its drupe.

 

Historical evidence favors the European origin of the name "coconut", for no name is similar in any of the languages of India, where the Portuguese first found the fruit; and indeed Barbosa, Barros, and Garcia, in mentioning the Tamil/Malayalam name tenga, and Canarese narle, expressly say, "we call these fruits quoquos", "our people have given it the name of coco", and "that which we call coco, and the Malabars temga".

 

The OED states: "Portuguese and Spanish authors of the 16th c. agree in identifying the word with Portuguese and Spanish coco "grinning face, grin, grimace", also "bugbear, scarecrow", cognate with cocar "to grin, make a grimace"; the name being said to refer to the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its three holes. According to Losada, the name came from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The coconut shell reminded them of a ghost or witch in Portuguese folklore called coco (also côca). The first known recorded usage of the term is 1555.

 

The specific name nucifera is Latin for "nut-bearing".

Origin, domestication, and dispersal

 

ORIGIN

The origin of the plant is the subject of debate. O.F. Cook was one of the earliest modern researchers to draw conclusions about the location of origin of Cocos nucifera based on its current-day worldwide distribution. He hypothesized that the coconut originated in the Americas, based on his belief that American coconut populations predated European contact and because he considered pan-tropical distribution by ocean currents improbable. Thor Heyerdahl later used this hypothesis of the American origin of the coconut to support his theory that the Pacific Islanders originated in South America. However, more evidence exists for an Indo-Pacific origin either around Melanesia and Malesia or the Indian Ocean. The oldest fossils known of the modern coconut dating from the Eocene period from around 37 to 55 million years ago were found in Australia and India. However, older palm fossils such as some of nipa fruit have been found in the Americas. Since 1978, the work on tracing the probable origin and dispersal of Cocos nucifera has only recently been augmented by a publication on the germination rate of the coconut seednut and another on the importance of the coral atoll ecosystem. Briefly, the coconut originated in the coral atoll ecosystem — without human intervention — and required a thick husk and slow germination to survive and disperse.

 

DOMESTICATION

Coconuts could not reach inland locations without human intervention (to carry seednuts, plant seedlings, etc.) and it was early germination on the palm (vivipary) that was important, rather than increasing the number or size of the edible parts of a fruit that was already large enough. Human cultivation of the coconut selected, not for larger size, but for thinner husks and increased volume of endosperm, the solid “meat” or liquid “water” that provides the fruit its food value. Although these modifications for domestication would reduce the fruit’s ability to float, this ability would be irrelevant to a cultivated population.

 

Among modern C. nucifera, two major types or variants: a thick-husked, angular fruit and a thin-husked, spherical fruit with a higher proportion of endosperm reflect a trend of cultivation in C. nucifera: the first coconuts were of the niu kafa type, with thick husks to protect the seed, an angular, highly ridged shape to promote buoyancy during ocean dispersal, and a pointed base that allowed fruits to dig into the sand, preventing them from being washed away during germination on a new island. As early human communities began to harvest coconuts for eating and planting, they (perhaps unintentionally) selected for a larger endosperm to husk ratio and a broader, spherical base, which rendered the fruit useful as a cup or bowl, thus creating the niu vai type. The decreased buoyancy and increased fragility of this spherical, thin-husked fruit would not matter for a species that had started to be dispersed by humans and grown in plantations. Harries’ adoption of the Polynesian terms niu kafa and niu vai has now passed into general scientific discourse, and his hypothesis is generally accepted.

 

Variants of C. nucifera are also categorized as Tall (var. typica) or Dwarf (var. nana). The two groups are genetically distinct, with the Dwarf variety showing a greater degree of artificial selection for ornamental traits and for early germination and fruiting. The Tall variety is outcrossing while Dwarf palms are incrossing, which has led to a much greater degree of genetic diversity within the Tall group. It is believed that the Dwarf subgroup mutated from the Tall group under human selection pressure.

 

DISPERSAL

It is often stated that coconuts can travel 110 days, or 4,800 km, by sea and still be able to germinate. This figure has been questioned based on the extremely small sample size that forms the basis of the paper that makes this claim. Thor Heyerdahl provides an alternative, and much shorter, estimate based on his first-hand experience crossing the Pacific Ocean on the raft Kon-Tiki: "The nuts we had in baskets on deck remained edible and capable of germinating the whole way to Polynesia. But we had laid about half among the special provisions below deck, with the waves washing around them. Every single one of these was ruined by the sea water. And no coconut can float over the sea faster than a balsa raft moves with the wind behind it." He also notes that several of the nuts began to germinate by the time they had been ten weeks at sea, precluding an unassisted journey of 100 days or more. However, it is more than likely that the coconut variety Heyerdahl chose for his long sea voyage was of the large, fleshy, spherical niu vai type, which Harries observed to have a significantly shorter germination type and worse buoyancy than the uncultivated niu kafa type. Therefore, Heyerdahl’s observations cannot be considered conclusive when it comes to determining the independent dispersal ability of the uncultivated coconut.

 

Drift models based on wind and ocean currents have shown that coconuts could not have drifted across the Pacific unaided. This provides some circumstantial evidence that Austronesian peoples carried coconuts across the ocean and that they could not have dispersed worldwide without human agency. More recently, genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) has shed light on the movements of Austronesian peoples. By examining 10 microsatellite loci, researchers found two genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut - one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, admixture, the transfer of genetic material, evidently occurred between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, individuals from one population possibly could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to Madagascar and coastal east Africa, and exclude the Seychelles. This pattern coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, a genetically distinct subpopulation of coconut on the Pacific coast of Latin America has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect; however, its ancestral population is the Pacific coconut. This, together with their use of the South American sweet potato, suggests that Austronesian peoples may have sailed as far east as the Americas.

 

DISTRIBUTION

The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild are light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. Specimens have been collected from the sea as far north as Norway. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in Oceania. They have been found in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America for less than 500 years, but evidence of their presence on the Pacific coast of South America predates Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. They are now almost ubiquitous between 26°N and 26°S except for the interiors of Africa and South America.

  

NATURAL HABITAT

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity (70–80%+) for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity. However, they can be found in humid areas with low annual precipitation such as in Karachi, Pakistan, which receives only about 250 mm of rainfall per year, but is consistently warm and humid.

 

Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather. Some seasonal variation is tolerated, with good growth where mean summer temperatures are between 28 and 37 °C, and survival as long as winter temperatures are above 4–12 °C; they will survive brief drops to 0 °C. Severe frost is usually fatal, although they have been known to recover from temperatures of −4 °C. They may grow but not fruit properly in areas with insufficient warmth, such as Bermuda.

 

The conditions required for coconut trees to grow without any care are:

 

- Mean daily temperature above 12–13 °C every day of the year

- Mean annual rainfall above 1000 mm

- No or very little overhead canopy, since even small trees require direct sun

 

The main limiting factor for most locations which satisfy the rainfall and temperature requirements is canopy growth, except those locations near coastlines, where the sandy soil and salt spray limit the growth of most other trees.

 

DISEASES

Coconuts are susceptible to the phytoplasma disease lethal yellowing. One recently selected cultivar, the Maypan, has been bred for resistance to this disease.

 

PESTS

The coconut palm is damaged by the larvae of many Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species which feed on it, including Batrachedra spp.: B. arenosella, B. atriloqua (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), B. mathesoni (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), and B. nuciferae.

 

Brontispa longissima (coconut leaf beetle) feeds on young leaves, and damages both seedlings and mature coconut palms. In 2007, the Philippines imposed a quarantine in Metro Manila and 26 provinces to stop the spread of the pest and protect the $800 million Philippine coconut industry.

 

The fruit may also be damaged by eriophyid coconut mites (Eriophyes guerreronis). This mite infests coconut plantations, and is devastating: it can destroy up to 90% of coconut production. The immature seeds are infested and desapped by larvae staying in the portion covered by the perianth of the immature seed; the seeds then drop off or survive deformed. Spraying with wettable sulfur 0.4% or with neem-based pesticides can give some relief, but is cumbersome and labor-intensive.

 

In Kerala (India), the main coconut pests are the coconut mite, the rhinoceros beetle, the red palm weevil and the coconut leaf caterpillar. Research into countermeasures to these pests has as of 2009 yielded no results; researchers from the Kerala Agricultural University and the Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasaragode continue to work on countermeasures. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has developed an innovative extension approach called the compact area group approach (CAGA) to combat coconut mites.

 

PRODUCTION AND CULTIVATION

Coconut palms are grown in more than 90 countries of the world, with a total production of 62 million tonnes per year (table). Most of the world production is in tropical Asia, with Indonesia, the Philippines and India accounting collectively for 73% of the world total (table).

 

CULTIVATION

Coconut trees are hard to establish in dry climates, and cannot grow there without frequent irrigation; in drought conditions, the new leaves do not open well, and older leaves may become desiccated; fruit also tends to be shed.

 

The extent of cultivation in the tropics is threatening a number of habitats, such as mangroves; an example of such damage to an ecoregion is in the Petenes mangroves of the Yucatán.

 

HARVESTING

In some parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia), trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. Training schools for pig-tailed macaques still exist both in southern Thailand and in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. Competitions are held each year to find the fastest harvester.

 

INDIA

Traditional areas of coconut cultivation in India are the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar. As per 2013-14 statistics from Coconut Development Board of Government of India, four southern states combined account for almost 92% of the total production in the country: Tamil Nadu (31.93%), Kerala (27.54%), Karnataka (23.26%), and Andhra Pradesh (8.43%). Other states, such as Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and those in the northeast (Tripura and Assam) account for the remaining productions. Though Kerala has the largest number of coconut trees, in terms of production per hectare, Tamil Nadu leads all other states. In Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore and Tirupur regions top the production list.

 

Various terms, such as copra and coir, are derived from the native Malayalam language. In Kerala, the coconut tree is called "Thengu" also termed as kalpa vriksham, which essentially means all parts of a coconut tree is useful some way or other. In Tamil Nadu, a coconut tree is called as "Thennai maram" and tender coconut is called as "Ilaneer" in the native language.

 

MALDIVES

The coconut is the national tree of the Maldives and is considered the most important plant in the country. A coconut tree is also included in the country's national emblem or coat of arms. Coconut trees are grown on all the islands. Before modern construction methods were introduced, coconut leaves were used as roofing material for many houses in the islands, while coconut timber was used to build houses and boats.

 

MIDDLE EAST

The main coconut-producing area in the Middle East is the Dhofar region of Oman, but they can be grown all along the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea coasts, because these seas are tropical and provide enough humidity (through seawater evaporation) for coconut trees to grow. The young coconut plants need to be nursed and irrigated with drip pipes until they are old enough (stem bulb development) to be irrigated with brackish water or seawater alone, after which they can be replanted on the beaches. In particular, the area around Salalah maintains large coconut plantations similar to those found across the Arabian Sea in Kerala. The reasons why coconut are cultivated only in Yemen's Al Mahrah and Hadramaut governorates and in the Sultanate of Oman, but not in other suitable areas in the Arabian Peninsula, may originate from the fact that Oman and Hadramaut had long dhow trade relations with Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Africa and Zanzibar, as well as southern India and China. Omani people needed the coir rope from the coconut fiber to stitch together their traditional high seas-going dhow vessels in which nails were never used. The 'know how' of coconut cultivation and necessary soil fixation and irrigation may have found its way into Omani, Hadrami and Al-Mahra culture by people who returned from those overseas areas.

 

The coconut cultivars grown in Oman are generally of the drought-resistant Indian "West Coast tall" (WC Tall) variety. Unlike the UAE, which grows mostly non-native dwarf or hybrid coconut cultivars imported from Florida for ornamental purposes, the slender, tall Omani coconut cultivars are relatively well-adapted to the Middle East's hot dry seasons, but need longer to reach maturity. The Middle East's hot, dry climate favors the development of coconut mites, which cause immature seed dropping and may cause brownish-gray discoloration on the coconut's outer green fiber.

 

The ancient coconut groves of Dhofar were mentioned by the medieval Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta in his writings, known as Al Rihla.[52] The annual rainy season known locally as Khareef or monsoon makes coconut cultivation easy on the Arabian east coast.

 

Coconut trees also are increasingly grown for decorative purposes along the coasts of the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the help of irrigation. The UAE has, however, imposed strict laws on mature coconut tree imports from other countries to reduce the spread of pests to other native palm trees, as the mixing of date and coconut trees poses a risk of cross-species palm pests, such as rhinoceros beetles and red palm weevils. The artificial landscaping adopted in Florida may have been the cause for lethal yellowing, a viral coconut palm disease that leads to the death of the tree. It is spread by host insects, that thrive on heavy turf grasses. Therefore, heavy turf grass environments (beach resorts and golf courses) also pose a major threat to local coconut trees. Traditionally, dessert banana plants and local wild beach flora such as Scaevola taccada and Ipomoea pes-caprae were used as humidity-supplying green undergrowth for coconut trees, mixed with sea almond and sea hibiscus. Due to growing sedentary life styles and heavy-handed landscaping, there has been a decline in these traditional farming and soil-fixing techniques.

 

SRI LANKA

An early mention of the planting of coconuts is found in the Mahavamsa during the reign of Agrabodhi II around 589 AD. Coconuts are common in the Sri Lankan diet and the main source of dietary fat.

 

UNITED STATES

In the United States coconut palms can be grown and reproduced outdoors without irrigation in Hawaii, southern and central Florida, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

In Florida, Coconut palms will grow from coastal Pinellas County and St. Petersburg southwards on Florida's west coast, and Melbourne southwards on Florida's east coast. The occasional coconut palm is seen north of these areas in favoured microclimates in Tampa and Clearwater, as well as around Cape Canaveral and Daytona Beach on the east coast. They reach fruiting maturity, but can be damaged or killed by the occasional winter freezes in these areas. In South Texas they may also be grown in favoured microclimates around the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, and as far north as Corpus Christi , however more severe cold snaps keep them from producing viable fruit.

 

AUSTRALIA

Coconuts are commonly grown around the northern coast of Australia, and in some warmer parts of New South Wales.

 

BERMUDA

Most of the tall mature coconut trees found in Bermuda were shipped to the island as seedlings on the decks of ships. In more recent years, the importation of coconuts was prohibited, therefore, a large proportion of the younger trees have been propagated from locally grown coconuts.

 

In the winter months, the growth rate of coconut trees declines due to cooler temperatures and people have commonly attributed this to the reduced yield of coconuts in comparison to tropical regions. However, whilst cooler winter temperatures may be a factor in reducing fruit production, the primary reason for the reduced yield is a lack of water. Bermuda's soil is generally very shallow (1.5 to 3 feet) and much of a coconut tree's root mass is found in the porous limestone underneath the soil. Due to the porosity of the limestone, Bermuda's coconut trees do not generally have a sufficient supply of water with which they are able to support a large number of fruit as rain water quickly drains down through the limestone layer to the water table which is far too deep for a coconut's roots to reach. This typically leads to a reduction in fruit yield (sometimes as little as one or two mature fruits) as well as a reduced milk content inside the coconut that often causes the fruit to be infertile.

 

Conversely, trees growing in close proximity to the sea almost universally yield a much greater volume of fruit as they are able to tap directly into the sea water which permeates the limestone in such areas. Not only do these trees produce a significantly higher yield, but also the fruit itself tends to be far more fertile due to the higher milk content. Trees found growing in Bermuda's marshy inland areas enjoy a similar degree of success as they are also able to tap directly into a constant supply of water.

 

EUROPE

As a tropical plant, coconut is not native to Europe, but grows in tropical territories of European countries, such as Martinique and Guadeloupe (France), the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal).

 

COOLER CLIMATES

In cooler climates (but not less than USDA Zone 9), a similar palm, the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), is used in landscaping. Its fruits are very similar to the coconut, but much smaller. The queen palm was originally classified in the genus Cocos along with the coconut, but was later reclassified in Syagrus. A recently discovered palm, Beccariophoenix alfredii from Madagascar, is nearly identical to the coconut, more so than the queen palm and can also be grown in slightly cooler climates than the coconut palm. Coconuts can only be grown in temperatures above 18 °C and need a daily temperature above 22 °C to produce fruit.

 

USES

The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the "tree of life".

 

COOKING

The various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses. The seed provides oil for frying, cooking, and making margarine. The white, fleshy part of the seed, the coconut meat, is used fresh or dried in cooking, especially in confections and desserts such as macaroons. Desiccated coconut or coconut milk made from it is frequently added to curries and other savory dishes. Coconut flour has also been developed for use in baking, to combat malnutrition. Coconut chips have been sold in the tourist regions of Hawaii and the Caribbean. Coconut butter is often used to describe solidified coconut oil, but has also been adopted as a name by certain specialty products made of coconut milk solids or puréed coconut meat and oil. Dried coconut is also used as the filling for many chocolate bars. Some dried coconut is purely coconut but others are manufactured with other ingredients, such as sugar, propylene glycol, salt, and sodium metabisulfite. Some countries in South East Asia use special coconut mutant called Kopyor (in Indonesian) or macapuno (in Philippines) as a dessert drinks.

 

NUTRITION

Per 100 gram serving with 354 calories, raw coconut meat supplies a high amount of total fat (33 grams), especially saturated fat (89% of total fat) and carbohydrates (24 grams) (table). Micronutrients in significant content include the dietary minerals, manganese, iron, phosphorus and zinc (table).

 

COCONUT WATER

Coconut water serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during its nuclear phase of development. Later, the endosperm matures and deposits onto the coconut rind during the cellular phase. It is consumed throughout the humid tropics, and has been introduced into the retail market as a processed sports drink. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young, immature coconuts, barring spoilage. Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar.

 

Per 100 gram (100 ml) serving, coconut water contains 19 calories and no significant content of essential nutrients.

 

COCONUT MILK

Coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, is obtained primarily by extracting juice by pressing the grated coconut white kernel or by passing hot water or milk through grated coconut, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It has a total fat content of 24%, most of which (89%) is saturated fat, with lauric acid as a major fatty acid. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate from the milk. The milk can be used to produce virgin coconut oil by controlled heating and removal of the oil fraction.

 

A protein-rich powder can be processed from coconut milk following centrifugation, separation and spray drying.

 

COCONUT OIL

Another byproduct of the coconut is coconut oil. It is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying. It can be used in liquid form as would other vegetable oils, or in solid form as would butter or lard.

 

TODDY AND NECTAR

The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut is drunk as neera, also known as toddy or tuba (Philippines), tuak (Indonesia and Malaysia) or karewe (fresh and not fermented, collected twice a day, for breakfast and dinner) in Kiribati. When left to ferment on its own, it becomes palm wine. Palm wine is distilled to produce arrack. In the Philippines, this alcoholic drink is called lambanog or "coconut vodka".

 

The sap can be reduced by boiling to create a sweet syrup or candy such as te kamamai in Kiribati or dhiyaa hakuru and addu bondi in the Maldives. It can be reduced further to yield coconut sugar also referred to as palm sugar or jaggery. A young, well-maintained tree can produce around 300 liters of toddy per year, while a 40-year-old tree may yield around 400 liters.

 

HEART OF PALM AND COCONUT SPROUT

Apical buds of adult plants are edible, and are known as "palm cabbage" or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy, as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads, sometimes called "millionaire's salad". Newly germinated coconuts contain an edible fluff of marshmallow-like consistency called coconut sprout, produced as the endosperm nourishes the developing embryo.

 

INDONESIA

Coconut is an indispensable ingredient in Indonesian cooking. Coconut meat, coconut milk and coconut water are often used in main courses, desserts and soups throughout the archipelago. In the island of Sumatra, the famous Rendang, the traditional beef stew from West Sumatra, chunks of beef are cooked in coconut milk along with other spices for hours until thickened. In Jakarta, "Soto Babat" or beef tripe soup also uses coconut milk. In the island of Java, the sweet and savoury "Tempe Bacem" is made by cooking tempeh with coconut water, coconut sugar and other spices until thickened. "Klapertart" is the famous Dutch-influenced dessert from Manado, North Celebes, that uses young coconut meat and coconut milk. In 2010, Indonesia increased its coconut production. It is now the world's second largest producer of coconuts. The gross production was 15 million tonnes. A sprouting coconut seed is the logo for Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia, the Indonesian Scouting organization. It can be seen on all the scouting paraphernalia that elementary (SMA) school children wear as well as on the scouting pins and flags.

 

PHILIPPINES

The Philippines is the world's largest producer of coconuts; the production of coconuts plays an important role in the economy. Coconuts in the Philippines are usually used in making main dishes, refreshments and desserts. Coconut juice is also a popular drink in the country. In the Philippines, particularly Cebu, rice is wrapped in coconut leaves for cooking and subsequent storage; these packets are called puso. Coconut milk, known as gata, and grated coconut flakes are used in the preparation of dishes such as laing, ginataan, bibingka, ube halaya, pitsi-pitsi, palitaw, buko and coconut pie. Coconut jam is made by mixing muscovado sugar with coconut milk. Coconut sport fruits are also harvested. One such variety of coconut is known as macapuno. Its meat is sweetened, cut into strands and sold in glass jars as coconut strings, sometimes labeled as "gelatinous mutant coconut". Coconut water can be fermented to make a different product - nata de coco (coconut gel).

 

VIETNAM

In Vietnam, coconut is grown abundantly across Central and Southern Vietnam, and especially in Bến Tre Province, often called the "land of the coconut". It is used to make coconut candy, caramel, and jelly. Coconut juice and coconut milk are used, especially in Vietnam's southern style of cooking, including kho, chè and curry (cà ri).

 

INDIA

In southern India, most common way of cooking vegetables is to add grated coconut and then steam them with spices fried in oil. People from southern India also make chutney, which involves grinding the coconut with salt, chillies, and whole spices. Uruttu chammanthi (granulated chutney) is eaten with rice or kanji (rice gruel). It is also invariably the main side dish served with idli, vadai, and dosai. Coconut ground with spices is also mixed in sambar and other various lunch dishes for extra taste. Dishes garnished with grated coconut are generally referred to as poduthol in North Malabar and thoran in rest of Kerala. Puttu is a culinary delicacy of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, in which layers of coconut alternate with layers of powdered rice, all of which fit into a bamboo stalk. Recently, this has been replaced with a steel or aluminium tube, which is then steamed over a pot. Coconut (Tamil: தேங்காய்) is regularly broken in the middle-class families in Tamil Nadu for food. Coconut meat can be eaten as a snack sweetened with jaggery or molasses. In Karnataka sweets are prepared using coconut and dry coconut "copra"., Like Kaie Obattu, Kobri mitai etc.

 

WIKIPEDIA

A pair of vada (vadai) lightly fried and chock full of various spices and herbs served aside a bowl of sambar and wet chutneys. A delicious meal and snack at a restaurant in Little India (Lembuh Ampang) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Bruce’s breakfast at the hotel

Chennai Dinner (iddly, medu vadai, vegetable, utthapam, masala dosai, coconut chutney, sambar, badam halwa)

at Chennai Garden

  

I've described the bits if you click on this pic

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family).

 

It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. 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. 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.

 

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of "water" and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. 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; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is potable. 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 many societies that use it.

 

DESCRIPTION

PLANT

Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m 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.

 

FRUIT

Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Like other fruits, it has three layers: the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The exocarp and mesocarp make up the "husk" of the coconut. Coconuts sold in the shops of nontropical countries often have had the exocarp (outermost layer) removed. The mesocarp is composed of a fiber, called coir, which has many traditional and commercial uses. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or "eyes" that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed.

 

A full-sized coconut weighs about 1.44 kg. It takes around 6,000 full-grown coconuts to produce a tonne of copra.

 

ROOTS

Unlike some other plants, the palm tree has neither a tap root nor root hairs, but has a fibrous root system.

 

The coconut palm root system consists of an abundance of thin roots that grow outward from the plant near the surface. Only a few of the roots penetrate deep into the soil for stability. The type of root system is known as fibrous or adventitious, and is a characteristic of grass species. Other types of large trees produce a single downward-growing tap root with a number of feeder roots growing from it.

 

Coconut palms continue to produce roots from the base of the stem throughout its life. The number of roots produced depends on the age of the tree and the environment, with more than 3,600 roots possible on a tree that's 60 to 70 years old.

 

Roots are usually less than about 3 inches in diameter and uniformly thick from the tree trunk to the root tip.

Inflorescence

 

The palm produces both the female and male flowers on the same inflorescence; thus, the palm is monoecious. Other sources use the term polygamomonoecious. The female flower is much larger than the male flower. Flowering occurs continuously. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating.

 

ETYMOLOGY

One of the earliest mentions of the coconut dates back to the One Thousand and One Nights story of Sinbad the Sailor; he is known to have bought and sold coconuts during his fifth voyage. Tenga, its Malayalam and Tamil name, was used in the detailed description of coconut found in Itinerario by Ludovico di Varthema published in 1510 and also in the later Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Even earlier, it was called nux indica, a name used by Marco Polo in 1280 while in Sumatra, taken from the Arabs who called it جوز هندي jawz hindī. Both names translate to "Indian nut". In the earliest description of the coconut palm known, given by Cosmos of Alexandria in his Topographia Christiana written about 545 AD, there is a reference to the argell tree and its drupe.

 

Historical evidence favors the European origin of the name "coconut", for no name is similar in any of the languages of India, where the Portuguese first found the fruit; and indeed Barbosa, Barros, and Garcia, in mentioning the Tamil/Malayalam name tenga, and Canarese narle, expressly say, "we call these fruits quoquos", "our people have given it the name of coco", and "that which we call coco, and the Malabars temga".

 

The OED states: "Portuguese and Spanish authors of the 16th c. agree in identifying the word with Portuguese and Spanish coco "grinning face, grin, grimace", also "bugbear, scarecrow", cognate with cocar "to grin, make a grimace"; the name being said to refer to the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its three holes. According to Losada, the name came from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The coconut shell reminded them of a ghost or witch in Portuguese folklore called coco (also côca). The first known recorded usage of the term is 1555.

 

The specific name nucifera is Latin for "nut-bearing".

Origin, domestication, and dispersal

 

ORIGIN

The origin of the plant is the subject of debate. O.F. Cook was one of the earliest modern researchers to draw conclusions about the location of origin of Cocos nucifera based on its current-day worldwide distribution. He hypothesized that the coconut originated in the Americas, based on his belief that American coconut populations predated European contact and because he considered pan-tropical distribution by ocean currents improbable. Thor Heyerdahl later used this hypothesis of the American origin of the coconut to support his theory that the Pacific Islanders originated in South America. However, more evidence exists for an Indo-Pacific origin either around Melanesia and Malesia or the Indian Ocean. The oldest fossils known of the modern coconut dating from the Eocene period from around 37 to 55 million years ago were found in Australia and India. However, older palm fossils such as some of nipa fruit have been found in the Americas. Since 1978, the work on tracing the probable origin and dispersal of Cocos nucifera has only recently been augmented by a publication on the germination rate of the coconut seednut and another on the importance of the coral atoll ecosystem. Briefly, the coconut originated in the coral atoll ecosystem — without human intervention — and required a thick husk and slow germination to survive and disperse.

 

DOMESTICATION

Coconuts could not reach inland locations without human intervention (to carry seednuts, plant seedlings, etc.) and it was early germination on the palm (vivipary) that was important, rather than increasing the number or size of the edible parts of a fruit that was already large enough. Human cultivation of the coconut selected, not for larger size, but for thinner husks and increased volume of endosperm, the solid “meat” or liquid “water” that provides the fruit its food value. Although these modifications for domestication would reduce the fruit’s ability to float, this ability would be irrelevant to a cultivated population.

 

Among modern C. nucifera, two major types or variants: a thick-husked, angular fruit and a thin-husked, spherical fruit with a higher proportion of endosperm reflect a trend of cultivation in C. nucifera: the first coconuts were of the niu kafa type, with thick husks to protect the seed, an angular, highly ridged shape to promote buoyancy during ocean dispersal, and a pointed base that allowed fruits to dig into the sand, preventing them from being washed away during germination on a new island. As early human communities began to harvest coconuts for eating and planting, they (perhaps unintentionally) selected for a larger endosperm to husk ratio and a broader, spherical base, which rendered the fruit useful as a cup or bowl, thus creating the niu vai type. The decreased buoyancy and increased fragility of this spherical, thin-husked fruit would not matter for a species that had started to be dispersed by humans and grown in plantations. Harries’ adoption of the Polynesian terms niu kafa and niu vai has now passed into general scientific discourse, and his hypothesis is generally accepted.

 

Variants of C. nucifera are also categorized as Tall (var. typica) or Dwarf (var. nana). The two groups are genetically distinct, with the Dwarf variety showing a greater degree of artificial selection for ornamental traits and for early germination and fruiting. The Tall variety is outcrossing while Dwarf palms are incrossing, which has led to a much greater degree of genetic diversity within the Tall group. It is believed that the Dwarf subgroup mutated from the Tall group under human selection pressure.

 

DISPERSAL

It is often stated that coconuts can travel 110 days, or 4,800 km, by sea and still be able to germinate. This figure has been questioned based on the extremely small sample size that forms the basis of the paper that makes this claim. Thor Heyerdahl provides an alternative, and much shorter, estimate based on his first-hand experience crossing the Pacific Ocean on the raft Kon-Tiki: "The nuts we had in baskets on deck remained edible and capable of germinating the whole way to Polynesia. But we had laid about half among the special provisions below deck, with the waves washing around them. Every single one of these was ruined by the sea water. And no coconut can float over the sea faster than a balsa raft moves with the wind behind it." He also notes that several of the nuts began to germinate by the time they had been ten weeks at sea, precluding an unassisted journey of 100 days or more. However, it is more than likely that the coconut variety Heyerdahl chose for his long sea voyage was of the large, fleshy, spherical niu vai type, which Harries observed to have a significantly shorter germination type and worse buoyancy than the uncultivated niu kafa type. Therefore, Heyerdahl’s observations cannot be considered conclusive when it comes to determining the independent dispersal ability of the uncultivated coconut.

 

Drift models based on wind and ocean currents have shown that coconuts could not have drifted across the Pacific unaided. This provides some circumstantial evidence that Austronesian peoples carried coconuts across the ocean and that they could not have dispersed worldwide without human agency. More recently, genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) has shed light on the movements of Austronesian peoples. By examining 10 microsatellite loci, researchers found two genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut - one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, admixture, the transfer of genetic material, evidently occurred between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, individuals from one population possibly could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to Madagascar and coastal east Africa, and exclude the Seychelles. This pattern coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, a genetically distinct subpopulation of coconut on the Pacific coast of Latin America has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect; however, its ancestral population is the Pacific coconut. This, together with their use of the South American sweet potato, suggests that Austronesian peoples may have sailed as far east as the Americas.

 

DISTRIBUTION

The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild are light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. Specimens have been collected from the sea as far north as Norway. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in Oceania. They have been found in the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of Africa and South America for less than 500 years, but evidence of their presence on the Pacific coast of South America predates Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. They are now almost ubiquitous between 26°N and 26°S except for the interiors of Africa and South America.

  

NATURAL HABITAT

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity (70–80%+) for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity. However, they can be found in humid areas with low annual precipitation such as in Karachi, Pakistan, which receives only about 250 mm of rainfall per year, but is consistently warm and humid.

 

Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather. Some seasonal variation is tolerated, with good growth where mean summer temperatures are between 28 and 37 °C, and survival as long as winter temperatures are above 4–12 °C; they will survive brief drops to 0 °C. Severe frost is usually fatal, although they have been known to recover from temperatures of −4 °C. They may grow but not fruit properly in areas with insufficient warmth, such as Bermuda.

 

The conditions required for coconut trees to grow without any care are:

 

- Mean daily temperature above 12–13 °C every day of the year

- Mean annual rainfall above 1000 mm

- No or very little overhead canopy, since even small trees require direct sun

 

The main limiting factor for most locations which satisfy the rainfall and temperature requirements is canopy growth, except those locations near coastlines, where the sandy soil and salt spray limit the growth of most other trees.

 

DISEASES

Coconuts are susceptible to the phytoplasma disease lethal yellowing. One recently selected cultivar, the Maypan, has been bred for resistance to this disease.

 

PESTS

The coconut palm is damaged by the larvae of many Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species which feed on it, including Batrachedra spp.: B. arenosella, B. atriloqua (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), B. mathesoni (feeds exclusively on C. nucifera), and B. nuciferae.

 

Brontispa longissima (coconut leaf beetle) feeds on young leaves, and damages both seedlings and mature coconut palms. In 2007, the Philippines imposed a quarantine in Metro Manila and 26 provinces to stop the spread of the pest and protect the $800 million Philippine coconut industry.

 

The fruit may also be damaged by eriophyid coconut mites (Eriophyes guerreronis). This mite infests coconut plantations, and is devastating: it can destroy up to 90% of coconut production. The immature seeds are infested and desapped by larvae staying in the portion covered by the perianth of the immature seed; the seeds then drop off or survive deformed. Spraying with wettable sulfur 0.4% or with neem-based pesticides can give some relief, but is cumbersome and labor-intensive.

 

In Kerala (India), the main coconut pests are the coconut mite, the rhinoceros beetle, the red palm weevil and the coconut leaf caterpillar. Research into countermeasures to these pests has as of 2009 yielded no results; researchers from the Kerala Agricultural University and the Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasaragode continue to work on countermeasures. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has developed an innovative extension approach called the compact area group approach (CAGA) to combat coconut mites.

 

PRODUCTION AND CULTIVATION

Coconut palms are grown in more than 90 countries of the world, with a total production of 62 million tonnes per year (table). Most of the world production is in tropical Asia, with Indonesia, the Philippines and India accounting collectively for 73% of the world total (table).

 

CULTIVATION

Coconut trees are hard to establish in dry climates, and cannot grow there without frequent irrigation; in drought conditions, the new leaves do not open well, and older leaves may become desiccated; fruit also tends to be shed.

 

The extent of cultivation in the tropics is threatening a number of habitats, such as mangroves; an example of such damage to an ecoregion is in the Petenes mangroves of the Yucatán.

 

HARVESTING

In some parts of the world (Thailand and Malaysia), trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. Training schools for pig-tailed macaques still exist both in southern Thailand and in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. Competitions are held each year to find the fastest harvester.

 

INDIA

Traditional areas of coconut cultivation in India are the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar. As per 2013-14 statistics from Coconut Development Board of Government of India, four southern states combined account for almost 92% of the total production in the country: Tamil Nadu (31.93%), Kerala (27.54%), Karnataka (23.26%), and Andhra Pradesh (8.43%). Other states, such as Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and those in the northeast (Tripura and Assam) account for the remaining productions. Though Kerala has the largest number of coconut trees, in terms of production per hectare, Tamil Nadu leads all other states. In Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore and Tirupur regions top the production list.

 

Various terms, such as copra and coir, are derived from the native Malayalam language. In Kerala, the coconut tree is called "Thengu" also termed as kalpa vriksham, which essentially means all parts of a coconut tree is useful some way or other. In Tamil Nadu, a coconut tree is called as "Thennai maram" and tender coconut is called as "Ilaneer" in the native language.

 

MALDIVES

The coconut is the national tree of the Maldives and is considered the most important plant in the country. A coconut tree is also included in the country's national emblem or coat of arms. Coconut trees are grown on all the islands. Before modern construction methods were introduced, coconut leaves were used as roofing material for many houses in the islands, while coconut timber was used to build houses and boats.

 

MIDDLE EAST

The main coconut-producing area in the Middle East is the Dhofar region of Oman, but they can be grown all along the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea coasts, because these seas are tropical and provide enough humidity (through seawater evaporation) for coconut trees to grow. The young coconut plants need to be nursed and irrigated with drip pipes until they are old enough (stem bulb development) to be irrigated with brackish water or seawater alone, after which they can be replanted on the beaches. In particular, the area around Salalah maintains large coconut plantations similar to those found across the Arabian Sea in Kerala. The reasons why coconut are cultivated only in Yemen's Al Mahrah and Hadramaut governorates and in the Sultanate of Oman, but not in other suitable areas in the Arabian Peninsula, may originate from the fact that Oman and Hadramaut had long dhow trade relations with Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Africa and Zanzibar, as well as southern India and China. Omani people needed the coir rope from the coconut fiber to stitch together their traditional high seas-going dhow vessels in which nails were never used. The 'know how' of coconut cultivation and necessary soil fixation and irrigation may have found its way into Omani, Hadrami and Al-Mahra culture by people who returned from those overseas areas.

 

The coconut cultivars grown in Oman are generally of the drought-resistant Indian "West Coast tall" (WC Tall) variety. Unlike the UAE, which grows mostly non-native dwarf or hybrid coconut cultivars imported from Florida for ornamental purposes, the slender, tall Omani coconut cultivars are relatively well-adapted to the Middle East's hot dry seasons, but need longer to reach maturity. The Middle East's hot, dry climate favors the development of coconut mites, which cause immature seed dropping and may cause brownish-gray discoloration on the coconut's outer green fiber.

 

The ancient coconut groves of Dhofar were mentioned by the medieval Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta in his writings, known as Al Rihla.[52] The annual rainy season known locally as Khareef or monsoon makes coconut cultivation easy on the Arabian east coast.

 

Coconut trees also are increasingly grown for decorative purposes along the coasts of the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the help of irrigation. The UAE has, however, imposed strict laws on mature coconut tree imports from other countries to reduce the spread of pests to other native palm trees, as the mixing of date and coconut trees poses a risk of cross-species palm pests, such as rhinoceros beetles and red palm weevils. The artificial landscaping adopted in Florida may have been the cause for lethal yellowing, a viral coconut palm disease that leads to the death of the tree. It is spread by host insects, that thrive on heavy turf grasses. Therefore, heavy turf grass environments (beach resorts and golf courses) also pose a major threat to local coconut trees. Traditionally, dessert banana plants and local wild beach flora such as Scaevola taccada and Ipomoea pes-caprae were used as humidity-supplying green undergrowth for coconut trees, mixed with sea almond and sea hibiscus. Due to growing sedentary life styles and heavy-handed landscaping, there has been a decline in these traditional farming and soil-fixing techniques.

 

SRI LANKA

An early mention of the planting of coconuts is found in the Mahavamsa during the reign of Agrabodhi II around 589 AD. Coconuts are common in the Sri Lankan diet and the main source of dietary fat.

 

UNITED STATES

In the United States coconut palms can be grown and reproduced outdoors without irrigation in Hawaii, southern and central Florida, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

In Florida, Coconut palms will grow from coastal Pinellas County and St. Petersburg southwards on Florida's west coast, and Melbourne southwards on Florida's east coast. The occasional coconut palm is seen north of these areas in favoured microclimates in Tampa and Clearwater, as well as around Cape Canaveral and Daytona Beach on the east coast. They reach fruiting maturity, but can be damaged or killed by the occasional winter freezes in these areas. In South Texas they may also be grown in favoured microclimates around the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, and as far north as Corpus Christi , however more severe cold snaps keep them from producing viable fruit.

 

AUSTRALIA

Coconuts are commonly grown around the northern coast of Australia, and in some warmer parts of New South Wales.

 

BERMUDA

Most of the tall mature coconut trees found in Bermuda were shipped to the island as seedlings on the decks of ships. In more recent years, the importation of coconuts was prohibited, therefore, a large proportion of the younger trees have been propagated from locally grown coconuts.

 

In the winter months, the growth rate of coconut trees declines due to cooler temperatures and people have commonly attributed this to the reduced yield of coconuts in comparison to tropical regions. However, whilst cooler winter temperatures may be a factor in reducing fruit production, the primary reason for the reduced yield is a lack of water. Bermuda's soil is generally very shallow (1.5 to 3 feet) and much of a coconut tree's root mass is found in the porous limestone underneath the soil. Due to the porosity of the limestone, Bermuda's coconut trees do not generally have a sufficient supply of water with which they are able to support a large number of fruit as rain water quickly drains down through the limestone layer to the water table which is far too deep for a coconut's roots to reach. This typically leads to a reduction in fruit yield (sometimes as little as one or two mature fruits) as well as a reduced milk content inside the coconut that often causes the fruit to be infertile.

 

Conversely, trees growing in close proximity to the sea almost universally yield a much greater volume of fruit as they are able to tap directly into the sea water which permeates the limestone in such areas. Not only do these trees produce a significantly higher yield, but also the fruit itself tends to be far more fertile due to the higher milk content. Trees found growing in Bermuda's marshy inland areas enjoy a similar degree of success as they are also able to tap directly into a constant supply of water.

 

EUROPE

As a tropical plant, coconut is not native to Europe, but grows in tropical territories of European countries, such as Martinique and Guadeloupe (France), the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal).

 

COOLER CLIMATES

In cooler climates (but not less than USDA Zone 9), a similar palm, the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), is used in landscaping. Its fruits are very similar to the coconut, but much smaller. The queen palm was originally classified in the genus Cocos along with the coconut, but was later reclassified in Syagrus. A recently discovered palm, Beccariophoenix alfredii from Madagascar, is nearly identical to the coconut, more so than the queen palm and can also be grown in slightly cooler climates than the coconut palm. Coconuts can only be grown in temperatures above 18 °C and need a daily temperature above 22 °C to produce fruit.

 

USES

The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and nonculinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value. Coconuts' versatility is sometimes noted in its naming. In Sanskrit, it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In the Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly called the "tree of life".

 

COOKING

The various parts of the coconut have a number of culinary uses. The seed provides oil for frying, cooking, and making margarine. The white, fleshy part of the seed, the coconut meat, is used fresh or dried in cooking, especially in confections and desserts such as macaroons. Desiccated coconut or coconut milk made from it is frequently added to curries and other savory dishes. Coconut flour has also been developed for use in baking, to combat malnutrition. Coconut chips have been sold in the tourist regions of Hawaii and the Caribbean. Coconut butter is often used to describe solidified coconut oil, but has also been adopted as a name by certain specialty products made of coconut milk solids or puréed coconut meat and oil. Dried coconut is also used as the filling for many chocolate bars. Some dried coconut is purely coconut but others are manufactured with other ingredients, such as sugar, propylene glycol, salt, and sodium metabisulfite. Some countries in South East Asia use special coconut mutant called Kopyor (in Indonesian) or macapuno (in Philippines) as a dessert drinks.

 

NUTRITION

Per 100 gram serving with 354 calories, raw coconut meat supplies a high amount of total fat (33 grams), especially saturated fat (89% of total fat) and carbohydrates (24 grams) (table). Micronutrients in significant content include the dietary minerals, manganese, iron, phosphorus and zinc (table).

 

COCONUT WATER

Coconut water serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during its nuclear phase of development. Later, the endosperm matures and deposits onto the coconut rind during the cellular phase. It is consumed throughout the humid tropics, and has been introduced into the retail market as a processed sports drink. Mature fruits have significantly less liquid than young, immature coconuts, barring spoilage. Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar.

 

Per 100 gram (100 ml) serving, coconut water contains 19 calories and no significant content of essential nutrients.

 

COCONUT MILK

Coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, is obtained primarily by extracting juice by pressing the grated coconut white kernel or by passing hot water or milk through grated coconut, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It has a total fat content of 24%, most of which (89%) is saturated fat, with lauric acid as a major fatty acid. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate from the milk. The milk can be used to produce virgin coconut oil by controlled heating and removal of the oil fraction.

 

A protein-rich powder can be processed from coconut milk following centrifugation, separation and spray drying.

 

COCONUT OIL

Another byproduct of the coconut is coconut oil. It is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying. It can be used in liquid form as would other vegetable oils, or in solid form as would butter or lard.

 

TODDY AND NECTAR

The sap derived from incising the flower clusters of the coconut is drunk as neera, also known as toddy or tuba (Philippines), tuak (Indonesia and Malaysia) or karewe (fresh and not fermented, collected twice a day, for breakfast and dinner) in Kiribati. When left to ferment on its own, it becomes palm wine. Palm wine is distilled to produce arrack. In the Philippines, this alcoholic drink is called lambanog or "coconut vodka".

 

The sap can be reduced by boiling to create a sweet syrup or candy such as te kamamai in Kiribati or dhiyaa hakuru and addu bondi in the Maldives. It can be reduced further to yield coconut sugar also referred to as palm sugar or jaggery. A young, well-maintained tree can produce around 300 liters of toddy per year, while a 40-year-old tree may yield around 400 liters.

 

HEART OF PALM AND COCONUT SPROUT

Apical buds of adult plants are edible, and are known as "palm cabbage" or heart of palm. They are considered a rare delicacy, as harvesting the buds kills the palms. Hearts of palm are eaten in salads, sometimes called "millionaire's salad". Newly germinated coconuts contain an edible fluff of marshmallow-like consistency called coconut sprout, produced as the endosperm nourishes t