• Fruit is ovoid.
  • 250mm in length.
  • Outer husk, thick and fibrous enclosing a hard, boney shell.
  • Inside the shell is the white flesh of the coconut.
  • When unripe the large cavity is filled with milky fluid, ripe fruit is only partly filled.

The coconut tree is a palm, up to 25m tall, with a trunk of about 0.5m in diameter, straight or very gently curved, rising from a swollen base surrounded by a thick mass of roots and marked by ring-like leaf scars. The leaves may vary from 3-6m in length with narrow, tapering leaves approximately 1m in length.

Mature but still green coconuts are preferred for their water for drinking. In green nuts, coconut meat (white flesh inside the nut) is still a jelly, which may be used in desserts. In a few varieties the meat remains soft in ripe nuts.

When picked green, mature nuts will ripen perfectly within a month. After husking, open the tough fibre casing using a spike or a small axe, the shell is cracked, and the meat can be pried from inside the shell.

Shaved coconut chips, sauces and drinks. Thai dishes often contain coconut cream as an ingredient.

Successful cultivation of the coconut palm is possible only in a tropical environment with abundant rainfall and warm temperatures. Soil should be light and well drained.

Dwarf palms commence bearing within 34 years. The nuts are fairly thin shelled and the economic life of the palm is around 40 years.

The widely grown tall types are hardy, long lived and appear to prosper under a variety of soil conditions. They reach flowering stage 8-10 years after planting and bear for up to 70-80 years.

Coconuts grow on stalks from inside the base of the leaves. The coconut bears all year round and takes a year after the tree flowers for nuts to mature. Coconuts are mature when the water inside can be heard when the nuts are shaken.

Coconuts have been crucial to the civilisation of coastal tropical regions through out the world.

Dispersal of the coconut predates man’s travel, and is made possible because of the fact that the nut floats, germinates slowly, thrives in sand and tolerates salty water.

The coconut originates in Melanesia and is widespread throughout regions bordering the Pacific Ocean.

Botanical Name: Cocos nucifera (Aracaceae)

Health Benefits

A good source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, E and saturated fat.

100g of coconut yields the following:

  • Calories – 354
  • Total Carbs – 5% of DV
  • Protein – 3.33g
  • Dietary Fibre – 36% of DV
  • Vitamin C – 6% of DV
  • Calcium – 1% of DV
  • Iron – 14% of DV

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Selecting tips

Coconuts are mature when the water inside can be heard when the nuts are shaken.

Storage: Store in a cool, dry, dark place. When husked and cut, store in the refrigerator for a short time.

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