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Cocos nucifera

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Cocos-nucifera

Name

Commonly called Coconut palm. "Cocos" comes from the Portuguese word for monkey, an allusion to the pores or eyes of a coconut which are said to resemble a monkey's face and "nucifera" means "nut bearing"

Description

This palm has rather sparse foliage which grows out of a half-visible coconut. The leaves are long and grouped two to a frond, appearing to grow straight from the nut. As the plant develops, lower fronds die and new ones grow from the top of the central stem, in time producing a trunk. It is a slow grower.

Family

PalmaeOrigin - Not known for sure, but probably the Pacific basin. Coconuts can float in the oceans for months, washing up on a beach and germinating.

Care tips

Coconut palm needs full sunlight. In winter temperature should be minimum 18 °C and in summer it tolerates up to 27 °C. Keep just moist, watering once or twice a week in summer, once a week in winter, but do not get water on the nut. Humidity should be high. Stand pot in saucer of pebbles almost covered with water and mist the plant daily. Coconut palm needs feeding every 3 weeks in summer with houseplant food diluted with water. This interesting plant is unfortunately invariably short-lived, as it requires tropical greenhouse conditions to survive in the long term.

Facts

One of the world's most useful plants, the coconut palm has hundreds of uses and is the staple diet of many people in the tropics. Apart from the obvious use of the flesh as food, the coconut water with which the nut is filled provides a refreshing drink. However, the most important use of this intensively farmed tree is the dried flesh, which is exported by the millions of tons, and is used in the production of commercial oils for food, toiletries etc.