Coconut trees

Coconuts are the fruits of the coconut palm. Throughout the tropics this palm is grown as decoration or for its  edible fruits. But apart from the fruits, almost any part of the plant can be used, for example to make furniture or mats, or to thatch roofs.


   Cocos nucifera
   Coconut palm
   Palmera de coco
   Cocotier cultivé
   Noix de coco
   Palmier de coco
   Noce di cocco
   Palma da cocco



Basic information and facts


Unknown (could be south Asia or South America).


Wet tropics. All tropical regions of the world, between latitudes 20 degrees North and South of the equator.

Evergreen or deciduous:



The branched inflorescence can be up to 2 meter long. It is borne in the leaf axil (the place where the leaf meets the stem). There are separate male and female flowers, but self pollination is prevented because the male flowers develop and wither before the female flowers. Insects are attracted to the sweet smelling nectaries on the flowers.


The pinnate (feather-like) leaves are 4-6 meter long. The pinnae are 60-90 cm long. Leaves that are old break away cleanly and leave a smooth trunk.


The egg-shaped (ovoid) fruits are up to 35 cm long and 30 cm wide. They have a green color which turns to brown in mature fruits. The outer part of the fruit is a thick fibrous husk. Inside this is the almost spherical nut which has a hard woody shell that is rather hairy on the outside. The nut can measure from 12 to 20 cm in diameter and up to 25 cm long. On one end of the nut are three round soft spots which are called the eyes. Inside the nut is a layer of white flesh, which is called copra. This layer of meat is very thin in younger fruits, and becomes harder and thicker (up to 2 cm) in older fruits. The central space of the nut is filled with a sweet liquid, which is called coconut milk. Especially the younger fruits contain a lot of this coconut water.

Climate and weather:

Requires full sun and a humid climate.


Cross pollination by insects (e.g. bees) and wind.


Large palm tree, growing to 30 m tall.

Type of soil:

Likes to grow on sandy beaches. The coconut is tolerant to brackish soils. Can be grown on many soils as long as they are well drained.

Growth rate:

Coconuts are slow growing

Spacing (close range)

5 meter

Spacing (wide range)

9 meter


Coconuts are propagated from seed.

Insect pests:

Coconut Rhinoceros beetles (Oryctes rhinoceros), are a key pest causing serious damage in coconut  palms in some parts of the world. Coconut hispid beetle (Brontispa longissima) is a very damaging pest of coconut in Asia in areas where natural enemies are absent. Some minor coconut pests that usually do not require control include scale, palm aphid, spider mites, mealybugs, palm weevils and caterpillars.


Lethal Yellowing disease is caused by mycoplasma-like organisms. It is a serious disease that causes palms to die within a few months.


Sometimes trained monkeys are used to harvest coconut fruits. the monkey climbs the tree and turns the fruit around until the petal breaks and the fruit falls on the ground.


Almost every part of the coconut palm has some use. The coconut water (coconut milk) that fills the space in the center of the coconut can be used as a drink. The white flesh (endosperm) can be eaten fresh, or is used in a variety of dishes. From the dried endosperm (copra) coconut oil can be extracted, which is used in soap and other cosmetic products. The fibers of the husk of the coconut can be used in the production of ropes, mats, brooms and brushes. Leaves are used to thatch roofs, and the wood is used as building material or to make furniture.

Proverbs and Quotes

  • A coconut shell full of water is a sea to an ant.
  • A fly does not mind dying in coconut cream.
  • Eat coconuts while you have teeth.
  • He on whose head we would break a coconut never stands still.
  • He who plants a coconut tree plants vessels and clothing, food and drink, a habitation for himself and a heritage for his children.
  • He who selects coconut with great care ends up getting a bad coconut.
  • If you had teeth of steel, you could eat iron coconuts.
  • It is the fate of the coconut husk to float, for the stone to sink.
  • Only the man who is not hungry says the coconut has a hard shell.
  • “O le pa’u a popo uli” (Samona saying: "The fall of the black coconut")
    This Samona saying is normally used as an encouraging advice to a person
    who fails from something, or a person who commits a serious mistake in life. The underlying knowledge is that
    if a black (mature) coconut finds soil, it germinates and grows again into a new tree.

  • There is a sweet water inside a tender coconut. Who poured the water inside the coconut? Was it the work of anyman? No. Only the Devine can do such a thing. (Sri Sathya Sai Baba)
  • The two basic items necessary to sustain life are sunshine and coconut milk. (Dustin Hoffman)

Did you know that?

  • Falling coconuts kill 150 people every year.


Healthy coconut drink

Tender coconut water: 200 ml
One medium sized Pomegranate
One table spoon sugar if needed

Remove the skin and white partitions of pomegranate. The edible part is blended properly with coconut water in a mixer. This is a healthy drink and can remove fatigue very fast.

Crop categories

Vegetable oils
Fiber crops
Food crops
Tropical crops


Coconut trees



Coconut palm

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top