The Coconut Palm
is one of the most common trees to be seen in the tropics. It is a member of the Family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only species in the genus Cocos, and is a large palm, growing to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4 - 6 m long, pinnae 60 - 90 cm long; old leaves break away cleanly leaving the trunk smooth. The term coconut refers to the seed of the coconut palm. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word.
The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropical world, for decoration as well as for its many culinary and non-culinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm has some human uses. In cool climates, a very similar palm, the Queen palm is used in urban landscaping. Its fruit are very similar to the coconut. It was originally classified in Cocos genus along with the coconut, but was later moved to Syagrus.
The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild is light, buoyant and highly water resistant and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. Such fruits collected from the sea as far north as Norway have been found to be viable, subsequently germinating under the right conditions. In the Hawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands in the South Pacific. They are now almost ubiquitous between 26°N and 26°S except for the interiors of Africa and South America.
The flowers of the coconut palm are polygamomonoecious, with both male and female flowers in the same inflorescence. Flowering occurs continuously, with female flowers producing seeds. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating. Coconuts also come with a liquid that is clear like water but sweet. The "Nut" of the coconut is edible and is in the shape of a ball or is on the inside sides of the coconut.
Coconuts received that name from the Portuguese and Spanish explorers who first brought them to Europe. The brown and hairy surface of coconuts is said to have reminded them of the iberian bogeyman, called El Coco. El Coco is supposed to be a hairy monster that hides under children beds in order to eat those who misbehave, and because of the furly and brown shape of the coconut, they started calling it coco, a word that still remains as the Spanish and Portuguese word for coconut. When coconuts arrived to England, they retained the coco name and the suffix -nut was added, as many other tree seeds do in English, thus getting the word "coconut".
A bunch of coconuts