Common Name - Coconut

Latin Name - Cocos nucifera

Species Characteristics

The coconut palm grows to 30m tall and is characterized by its tall slender trunk topped by large pinnate leaves. Each leaf grows between 4 and 6 metres long. The fruit of the coconut is made up of three layers, the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. The layer most often seen by people out of the tropics is the mesocarp with its tough fibrous body and three characteristic germination pores. The fleshy interior of the coconut fruit encases a reservoir of “water.”

Habitat & Range

Coconuts can be found throughout the tropical and subtropical world growing in a variety of soils along coastlines. The origin of the species is unknown and the subject of much debate. Fossils of coconut palms dating between 37 and 55 million years ago have been found in Australia and India.

Fascinating Facts

The coconut palm is an exceptional plant for its varied range of growth and the number of uses it offers up. The water and milk that are derived from the fruit is a nutritious and refreshing drink. Before modern capabilities of manufacturing intravenous fluids, coconut water was inserted directly into the veins of dehydrated medical patients. Today, due to the balance of electrolytes and carbohydrates, coconut water is used by athletes as a popular all-natural sports drink.

The flesh of the interior of the coconut fruit is also used in a number of culinary ways and by extracting the sap from immature coconut flowers it is also possible to produce a fresh sweetener from it or process it into a syrup or sugar. In the health food industry coconut oil made from mature kernels is also an important product. The oil is known to have a high burning temperature, which makes it an excellent oil to cook with and its moisturizing capabilities are an integral factor in its usage for the production of moisturizers and cosmetics.

Coconuts have many utilitarian capabilities that have been implemented across their diverse range. Fronds are commonly used to make thatching for roves and walls and the fruit husks have been used for a variety of things from buttons to kindling for fires. The timber of the coconut palm is also used for constructing buildings and rafts in many indigenous societies.

Bryce M Watts, BA Anthropology

President & Co-founder – Forager Foundation

Owner & CEO – Forager Farms Inc. 

Bryce’s background is in anthropology focusing specifically on ethnobotany and traditional ecological knowledge. His most recent interests have turned towards ethical relationships between corporations and indigenous communities. So often in anthropology corporations are shown as exploitative entities that take from the most vulnerable and leave nothing of benefit behind. Through his work with Forager Farms Bryce is trying to create a structure for businesses to follow that involves all voices in planning and managing roles to ensure that everyone involved sees the benefits.

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