The Coconut Palm (Cocos Nucifera L.) is commonly referred to as The Tree of Life due to its incredible value to man and the incredible number of products and by-products that can be created from it.
For years shows such as Gilligan’s Island, Robinson Crusoe, Survivor and the movie Castaway have entertained us with amazing delicacies and devices constructed from coconuts and coconut palms. These stories are not far from the truth!
A prized fruit of the tropics, coconut use cuts across all ethnic groups with its many parts widely used for food, craft, clothing, fuel and housing. The coconut is also considered an auspicious fruit and is used in almost every religious ritual in Asian countries.
Apart from being an important resource for their people, for many island nations coconut exports are vital to the socio-economic condition of their villages. Coconuts are a cash crop and provide income directly to the villagers, allowing them to obtain basic daily needs which are not able to be produced or grown in the village.
A coconut palm can live as long as 100 hundred years and yield 50 to 100 coconuts per year. As the coconut develops the coconut palm naturally filters water through its many fibres, purifying it as it travels to be stored inside the sterile coconut.
Coconut and coconut water are extremely nutritious and packed with vitamins and minerals and provides many health benefits.
Despite its name the fruit of the coconut palm is not at nut all,botanically classified as a drupe, meaning the ‘coconut’ is actually a huge seed.
If a coconut is allowed to fully ripen and then fall from the tree it will enter it germination stage. At this stage a white spongy ball develops inside the coconut absorbing the meat and juice. This sponge is considered a delicacy and can be eaten, however care must betaken because after a certain point it becomes poisonous.
In turn this embryo of the palm tree fulfils the circle of life, taking root and forming a new coconut palm.