How to Grow a Coconut Palm Tree – Cocos Nucifera

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The Coconut palm tree, scientific name Cocos Nucifera, most beautiful and recognizable palm in the world. One of the reasons it is so popular is because of its fruits called “coconuts”. Other parts of the tree can also be used for many purposes. “The tree of thousand uses” has been providing people with food and building material for over 4000 years. This graceful palm belongs to Arecaceae family and the genus Cocos. Cocos Nucifera grows everywhere throughout the tropical and the subtropical regions. Survival of many people from different countries depends on this tree.

Although the origin of this plant is uncertain, it is believed to be native to Pacific and Indian Ocean islands. This palm has been found around Asian continent, Africa, Central and South America.

Depending on the variety, Cocos Nucifera can grow up to 50-80ft tall. It has a smooth brown-gray trunk, slightly swollen at the base and topped with a crown of pinnate, or feather-shaped, fronds. The trunk is self-cleaning, meaning it drops old leaves, making it every easy to maintain. Leaves are about 15-17 ft long with 2ft long leaflets. Leaves are spineless and yellow-green in color.

It produces small yellow blooms that have a nice sweet scent. Male and female flowers are born on the same buy tropical plants in NY. Flowers grow on a 3-6 ft long branched inflorescence. The pollination happens by wind. It starts to produce flowers only after 5-7 years old.

The tree blooms all year long bearing about 100 coconuts per year. The fruit is really a drupe and not a true nut. It is about 15 inches long, green or brown color depending on the variety. The fruit has 3 layers: the outer layer with a husk, hard inner layer and soft inner layer that surrounds the seed. The most outer layer is composed of fibers that are used in a lot of different products. The inner layer is white, fleshy, firm and is absolutely delicious. Interior space is filled with liquid called “coconut water”. This slightly sweet water is very refreshing and is consumed as juice. In tropical countries people make a small opening in young coconuts and drink the water through a straw.

The water is full of vitamins, fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Coconut water is often confused with coconut milk that is made by squeezing the white meat.

All parts of this palm can be used. Coconut water is used in many dishes around the world to flavor soup, snack, vegetables, seafood and meat. It is also used to produce oil that is used for cooking. The sap of the tree is used to make vinegar and wine. Besides cooking, it is used in cosmetics, furniture, clothing and construction.

Cocos Nucifera is widely used in medicine for treatment of different health problems. Coconuts have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-irritant, and soothing effects and can be used as a remedy for weight loss, skin infections, diabetes, cancer, wounds, diarrhoea, heart diseases, digestive and bladder problems, dental care and so on.

This palm is very easy to grow and maintain. It loves a lot of sunlight, high humidity and moist well drained soil. It is not a cold hardy tree and will not survive cold temperatures below 20F even when mature enough. It is very salt and wind tolerant.

With Coconut palm you have to watch out for nutritional deficiencies, lethal yellowing disease, coconut mite, leaf beetle, and leaf spot. To prevent these problems, use high quality fertilizer and the right chemical pesticides.

 

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