Coconut Palm, Facts and Info on Coconut Palm Trees
Here is some detailed information on coconut palm trees.
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos.
Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 metres (98 ft) tall, with pinnate leaves 4 to 6 metres (13 to 20 ft) long, and pinnae 60 to 90 cm long; old leaves break away cleanly, leaving the trunk smooth. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut.
The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word.
The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and non-culinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be utilized by humans in some manner. However, 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 Yucatan.
The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild is light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents.
The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (150 cm to 250 cm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity (70 to 80%+) for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity, like the south eastern Mediterranean or Andalusia, even where temperatures are high enough (regularly above 24 degrees celsius or 75.2 degrees Fr.).
Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather.
Coconut trees are very 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.
Coconut palms are grown in more than 80 countries of the world, with a total production of 61 million tonnes per year.
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.
Technically, the coconut is a drupe, a fruit with a fleshy layer, not a true nut.
The flesh on the inside, referred to as "meat" can be eaten raw, cooked or dried
The center of the coconut contains coconut water which is a very nutritous drink
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