Plant Magazine of Botanical-online September 2017

Natural remedies

COCONUT TREE

Cocos nucifera

CHARACTERISTICS OF COCONUT PALM

Botanical characteristics of coconut

coconut palm
A drawing of coconut palm

Common English name: Coconut plant, coconut, cocoanut.

- Spanish: Coco, cocotero común, palma de coco.
- Portuguese: Coco, coqueiro, coco de Bahia (Brazil)
- French: noix de coco, cocotier, coconut.
- Italian: Cocco
- German: Kokosnuss
- Swedish: Kokosnöt
- Russian: Kokos
- Chinese: Yeh Tzu
- Japanese: Kokonatto
- Arabic: Al-Hind Hauz

Scientific name: Cocos nucifera L. The etymology of nucifera refers to the palm that produces nuts. Cocos nucifera is the only species in the genus Cocos L.

Family: Arecaceae or also called Palmae.

Where do coconut trees live?

Coconut treee origin is unknown, although it is a palm native to Malaysia and Indo-Pacific area.

Currently naturalized in all the world's tropical coasts.

In Philippines, it is is a very abundant plant and you can see fully inhabited islands with coconut groves.

Description of Coconut

Coconut palm is a slender palm tree widely distributed throughout the tropical regions, with a size that can vary between 12 to 30 meters high.

The trunk of the coconut tree is a cylindrical stipe, thin (20-30 cm in diameter) often tilted, brown or brownish-grey, showing the circular leaf scars from the old leaves when they fall down.

The palms, which, evolutionarily, are more primitive plants than trees, rather than a trunk, they have a structure called stipe. The stipe is characterized by not branching out and keeping the same diameter from below to its terminal tip, so they do not usually have much thickness. On its surface the distinguished "marks" produced by the petioles of fallen leaves appear, known as circular leaf scars, which are very characteristic of the palms.

At the end of the stipe, we find the palm leaves, that are born in what it is called a crown or acrocaulis. Its leaves are sheathed by an erect long petiole. They are placed in an alternate way, being characteristically pinnate or palmate, glossy green of colorful, 2-6 meters long.

Each inflorescence is a branched flower cluster (panicle), located at the base of the leaves. Its flowers, male and female (monoecious), can be white to pale yellow.

The female flowers are rounded, with two wide basal scales, 3 wide and rounded sepals, 3 white rounded pale petals and a yellow pistil with 3 cell ovary and 3 stigmas.

The male flowers have small and pointed white sepals, oblong petals and 6 stamens.

Fruiting occurs throughout the year, and the fruit is a drupe with a dry fibrous mesocarp popularly known as coconut. Coconut fruit has an ovoid shape, constituted by 3 angles and 3 germination holes at the end, with a size between 20 and 30 centimeters in diameter.

Coconut fruit consists of a brown fibrous bark and a hard shell, booking a seed inside. The central cavity of the fruit has an aqueous or milky liquid called coconut water that is a nutritional mixture aimed for coconut to grow.. When the fruit ripens, this fluid accumulates fat and it is called coconut juice or milk.

A mature tree can produce 75-200 coconuts per year, and each coconut can weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 kg.

The seed of the coconut palm is the second largest known, after the coco-de-mer (Lodoicea maldivica), that can reach 40–50 cm in diameter and weigh from 15 to 30 kg. The seed of coconut is hollow inside and it is covered with a white pulp, oily and edible.

Coconut uses

Coconut has been used historically as a medicinal food: It is said to have analgesic, antirheumatic, antibacterial, anticancer, antioxidant, hypoglycemic, hypotensive and immune stimulating properties.

Its oil also has numerous cosmetic applications

Composition of coconut palm

This is the main composition and active compounds of this plant. The edible part of the fruit is the seed of the plant.

Composition of coconut palm
(Cocos nucifera L.)

Component

Amount
(en ppm.)

Carbohydrates

94.000 - 331.000

Proteins

32.000 - 77.000

Fats

58.400 - 719.000

Fiber

30.000 - 115.000

Ash

9.000 - 22.000

Coconut minerals and dietary minerals

Phosphorus

830 - 2.400

Magnesium

770

Calcium

76 - 476

Sodium

145 - 626

Aluminium

7,20

Iron

23 - 33

Copper

3,2 - 33

Manganese

9 - 21

Rubidium

16

Zinc

13 - 17

Boron

3 - 5,20

Strontium

2,8

Nickel

2,10

Iodine

0,30

Cobalt

0,20

Chromium

0,20

Antimony, barium, cesium, mercury, europium

0,10

Cadmium, molybdenum, tungsten

0,03

Arsenic, Selenium

0,02

Vanadium

0,004

Scandium

0,002

coco

Picture of a coconut seed, where you can see the three germinative holes and the oval structure of the indehiscent seed, consisting of three angles.

Botanical classification

Kingdom

Plantae

Subkingdom

Tracheobionta
Vascular plants

Superdivision

Spermatophyta
Seed plants

Division

Magnoliophyta
Flower plants

Class

Liliopsida
Monocotyledonous

Subclass

Commelinidae

Order

Arecales

Family

Arecaceae o Palmae

Subfamily

Arecoideae

Tribe

Cocoeae

Subtribe

Butiinae

Gender

Cocos

Species

C. nucifera L.

punto rojo More information on coconut .

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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.
"Botanical" is not responsible for damages caused by self-medication.

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