The Coconut Tree
- a) Record average expected life of tree in years from sprout to death. (looking for approx numbers)
– Coconut has a medium life span, living between 60 to 80 years.
- b) Years until trees 1st fruit. (ie 8. some trees can be fruiting within a few years others can take decades.)
– Given proper care and growing conditions, coconut tree produce their first fruit in six to ten years, taking 15 – 20 years to reach peak production.
- c) Season of year when productive tree fruits. (ie Summer, Autumn, Winter Spring or combo ie Su/Au)
– My tree friend is located in a tropical region, where unlike most fruiting plants, mature coconut trees produce their fruits year-round rather than in one specific season.
- d) Expected or average number years tree expected to fruit for once it begins. (ie year 8 to 20 = 12 yrs)
– year 6 to 80 = 74 years
- e) Country/area of origin
- f) Average annual rainfall in area of origin
– Average annual rainfall in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Philippines is 2,399mm
- g) Latin name of tree and family
– Cocus nucifera Family: Arecaceae
- h) Any other products, benefits, useful or interesting facts about of tree, ie good shade tree or wind break, good cabinet, building or fire wood, fire resistant, flood or drought For example in Australia we have a challenge with termites that do a lot of damage eating wooden structures, there are certain woods that are naturally white ant resistant that allow a more reliable building without utilising white ant poison like is often done.
– Human use:
Food – Many parts of the coconut fruit have culinary uses. Most popular are the oil, coconut milk, water, and copra or “meat”. Coconut is a common flavouring in many types of foods and confectioneries. A salad can be made from the apical area of the tree, considered a delicacy, but harvesting can kill the plant. Sap is used for toddy-making (an alcoholic beverage) and palm sugar.
Fiber – Fronds can be used for weaving, thatching, and basket making. There are many uses for the fiber of coconut husks, including mat and brush making.
Soap – Coconut oil has numerous uses in soaps, lotions, and cosmetics.
Wood – Timber is used mostly for framing, flooring, fire wood and as poles.
Immature fruit is harvested for its fibrous husks, which can be used for making mats, brooms and brushes.
Leaves are used for weaving baskets and brooms.
– Ecological function:
Insectory – Important pollen source for honeybees.
Mulch Maker – Ideal for retaining moisture and suppressing weeds.
– Interesting facts about the tree:
- The coconut comes from the coconut palm tree which grows throughout the tropics and subtropics.
- The name coconut is derived from 16th century Portuguese sailors who thought the 3 small holes on the coconut shell resembled the human face so dubbed the fruit “coco” meaning “grinning face, grin, or grimace” The word nut was added in English later on.
- The coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) can grow up to 30 m (98 ft) tall and the leave fronds 4–6 m (13.1–19.7 ft) long.
- Technically the coconut fruit is a drupe not a nut. Typical drupes include peaches, plums, and cherries.
- In the early stages of a coconuts growth it contains high levels ofwater which can be consumed directly as a refreshing drink. The water is also gaining popularity as a sports drink as it contains good levels of sugars, dietary fiber, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- Coconut water can be a substitute forblood The high level of sugar and other salts make it possible to add the water to the bloodstream, similar to how an IV solution works in modern medicine. Coconut water was known to be used during World War II in tropical areas for emergency transfusions.
- Coconut milk is not the same as coconut water. Coconut milk has a high fat content of around 17%, but is low in sugars. It is frequently added to curries and other savoury dishes. Coconut cream can also be created from the milk.
- Coir (the fiber of the husk) can be used for making ropes, mats, brushes, sacks, caulking for boats, and as stuffing for mattresses.
- Coconut leaves have many uses such as for making brooms, woven to make baskets or mats, or dried and used as thatch for roofing.
- The white, fleshy part of the coconut seed is called coconut meat. It has high amounts of Manganese, Potassium, and Copper. The meat is used fresh or dried in cooking, especially in confections and desserts such as macaroons.
- Copra is the term used for the dried meat. This can be processed to produce coconut oil used in cooking, in soaps, cosmetics, hair-oil, and massage oil.
- Wood from the trunk of the coconut palm was traditionally used to build bridges, houses, huts and boats in the tropics. The woods straightness, strength, and salt resistance made it a reliable building material.
- The coconut palm is grown in over 80 countries. The top 3 coconut producing countries in 2010 were the Philippines, Indonesia and India.
- In Thailand and Malaysia, trained pig-tailed macaques are used to harvest coconuts. In fact, there are still training schools for these monkeys in parts of the countries and each year competitions are held to find the fastest harvester.
- The coconut does not get dispersed like other drupe fruits (through consumption by wildlife). Instead the coconut palm disperses its seed using the ocean. A coconut is very buoyant and highly water resistant and can travel very long distances across the ocean.
- The Maldives have a coconut palm on the country’s national coat of arms. It is the national tree and considered the most important plant on their islands.
- i) Height, width and shape of tree at maturity (in meters). Please find measure for both diameter of trunk and also arbour (the tree foliage) Note the profile shape is important for later design work, some trees have an overhanging canopy with bare trunk that can be walked around, others have foliage from base to top and in all sorts of patterns and densities.
– Height: 15.2 meters – 30.5 meters
– Width: 0.2 – 0.3 meters
– Shape: Umbrella
- j) Challenges or special requirements, such as needing other varieties in order to fruit
- Likes well-drained soil. Can adapt to heavier soils if necessary.
- Needs minimum of 64 F to produce fruit.
- Needs to be planted with a nitrogen fixer.