coconut

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coconut,

fruit of the coco palmpalm,
common name for members of the Palmae, a large family of chiefly tropical trees, shrubs, and vines. Most species are treelike, characterized by a crown of compound leaves, called fronds, terminating a tall, woody, unbranched stem.
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 (Cocos nucifera), a tree widely distributed through tropical regions. The seed is peculiarly adapted to dispersal by water because the large pod holding the nut is buoyant and impervious to moisture. The trees therefore establish themselves naturally on small islands and low shores bordering the tropical seas. The tree grows to a height of 60–100 ft (18–30 m), with a smooth cylindrical stem marked by the ringlike scars of former leaves. It bears at the top a crown of frondlike leaves and yellow or white blossoms.

The number of nuts varies; a well-cared-for tree may yield 75 to 200 or more annually. The mature fruit as it comes from the tree is encased in a thick, brown fibrous husk. The nut itself has a hard woody shell, with three round scars at one end; the embryo lies against the largest scar and emerges through it as a developing plant. Through this easily punctured spot the "milk" of the young coconut may be drained.

Commercial Value

Its constantly growing commercial value has led to extensive cultivation of the coconut, especially in the Malay Archipelago, Sri Lanka, and India. The coco palm is one of the most useful trees in existence, every part of it having some value. The fruit, either ripe or unripe, raw or cooked, is a staple food in the tropics; the terminal bud, called palm cabbage, is considered a delicacy; the inner part of young stems is also eaten. The liquid inside the young nut, called coconut milk, is a nutritious drink. Another form of coconut milk, also called coconut cream when the fat content is higher, is made by soaking the grated raw flesh in heated water and straining out the solids. A sweet liquid obtained from the flower buds ferments readily and is used as a beverage, both when fresh and when distilled to make arrack; it may be boiled down to make various palm sugars, e.g., jaggery. The leaves are used for making fans, baskets, and thatch. The coir (coarse fibers obtained from the husk) is made into cordage, mats, and stuffing; it becomes more buoyant and elastic than hemp in saltwater. The hard shell and the husk are used for fuel. The fibrous center of the old trunk is also used for ropes, and the timber, known as porcupine wood, is hard and fine-grained and takes a high polish. From the nutshells are made containers of various kinds—cups, ladles, and bowls—often highly polished and ornamentally carved. The root is chewed as a narcotic.

Commercially the greatest value of the coconut lies in the oil, which is extracted from the dried kernels of the fruit. The nuts when ripe are apt to spoil or become rancid; therefore when they are gathered they are broken open, and the flesh is dried and exported under the name of copra. The oil content of copra ranges from 50% to 70%, depending upon the method of drying. Coconut oil, the major type of palm oil, has been extracted by mortar and pestle in Asia since antiquity; the coconut and the olive are the earliest recorded sources of vegetable oil. Primitive methods of drying and expressing the copra have in many cases given way to modern machinery such as rotary driers and hydraulic presses. The residue, known as coco cake, makes excellent cattle food, as it usually contains a remnant of 6%–10% oil. Large quantities of shredded or desiccated coconut made from copra and many whole coconuts are exported for use chiefly in the making of cakes, desserts, and confectionery.

Classification

Coconuts are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Liliopsida, order Arecales, family Palmae.

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coconut

[′kō·kə‚nət]
(botany)
Cocos nucifera. A large palm in the order Arecales grown for its fiber and fruit, a large, ovoid, edible drupe with a fibrous exocarp and a hard, bony endocarp containing fleshy meat (endosperm).
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

coconut

presented to women who want to be mothers. [Ind. Folklore: Binder, 85]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

coconut

, cocoanut
the fruit of the coconut palm, consisting of a thick fibrous oval husk inside which is a thin hard shell enclosing edible white meat. The hollow centre is filled with a milky fluid (coconut milk)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
As per the agricultural census 2012/2013, the number of coconut palm trees is estimated at 148.869, exclusive of coconut palm trees in public parks and places and private houses.
As per the same census, there are about 132.909 coconut palm trees in Salalah and 5463 in Taqah agricultural plan, 37 km from Salalah, and 10.489 coconut palm trees in other wilayats of Dhofar.
The annual production of coconut from coconut palm trees at about 1455 feddans is 6551 tons.
Salalah streets and tourist sites are adorned with coconut palm trees. Dhofar Municipality and the Directorate General of Agriculture and Animal Wealth in Dhofar is very keen on planting coconut palm trees in the Governorate due to its economic benefits, historic importance and multiple uses in daily life.
Coconut palm trees' production is used in extracting oil, butter and in the production of pastries, cosmetics (soap, shampoo, ointments and beauty creams), ropes, mats, beds, cleaning materials, wood and furniture.
rhinoceros in coconut palm trees. If stridulations similar to those recorded here from adults were detected at the base of a live tree, it could be predicted that adults (most likely males, Mini & Prabhu 1990) were present in the crown.
According to the agricultural census of 2012-13, the number of coconut palm trees in the governorate was 150,000, planted on an estimated area of 1,455 acres.
From 2008 to 2012, the ministry also worked on a five-year project to combat diseases that affect coconut palm trees.
Aside from its white sand beach lined with tall coconut palm trees, the resort has an abundance of wildlife and tropical fishes.