Coconut (തെങ്)

Scientific Name: Cocos nucifera L.

Synonyms: Calappa nucifera (L.Kuntze, Cocos indica Royle

Unique ID: 56

Systematic Position

Class: Monocotyledonae

Series: Nudiflorae

Family: Arecaceae

Common Names

English – Coconut tree

Malayalam – തെങ്

Tamil – Thengku

Hindi – Nariyal

Description: Erect trees with annular petiolar scars. Leaves pinnatisect, 4-6 m long; leaflets reduplicate, 60-100 x 2.5-5 cm, base narrow, apex tapering, acute. Spadices interfoliar, 50-100 cm long, panicled; branches to 60 cm long. Spathe 60-130 cm long, oblong, woody. Flowers monoecious, subsessile. Male flowers: often paired, to 8 mm long. Sepals c. 3 mm long, ovate. Petals 6-8 mm long, ovate, woody, yellowish-brown. Stamens 6; pistillode short, 3-fid. Female flowers 1-3 per branch, basal, globose. Perianth-lobes 6; woody; outer lobes broadly obovate, c. 2 cm across; inner lobes reniform, to 2 cm across. Ovary 3-celled; ovule 1 per cell; style short. Drupe to 30 cm long, ovoid or globose, trigonous; pericarp fibrous; endocarp stony. Seed coherent with the endocarp. Flowering and fruiting: Throughout the year


Habitat: Coasts; Cultivated throughout the tropics

Distribution:  Tropics

Uses:   Virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner and has significant economic value.  It is one of the most useful trees in the world. Culinary uses; industrial use of coir, copra and husks and shells; leaves and timber in construction; roots – The roots are used as a dye, a mouthwash, and a folk medicine for diarrhea and dysentery ; other uses- The leftover fiber from coconut oil and coconut milk production, coconut meal, is used as livestock feed. The dried calyx is used as fuel in wood-fired stoves. Coconut water is traditionally used as a growth supplement in plant tissue culture and micropropagation.The smell of coconuts comes from the 6-pentyloxan-2-one molecule, known as δ-decalactone in the food and fragrance industries.