Thursday, 28 April 2011

Cocos nucifera - Coconut

Coconut , Cocos nucifera is a member of the family Arecaceae ( Palmae – palm family ).  It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos.    The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit.

Found across most part of the tropics, coconut is known for its great versatility in the many uses of its different parts.  
Its endosperm is know as the edible ‘meat’ of the fruit, when dried, it is called copra ; 
the oil and milk derived from the ‘meat’ are commonly used in cooking and frying ; 
coconut oil can made into soaps and cosmetics ; 
coconut water is a refreshing drink, and can be processed into alcoholic drink ; 
the sap derived from incising the flower cluster can be processed into palm sugar, and alcoholic drink ; 
apical buds of adult palm, known as ‘heart of palm’ are harvested for consumption, are a rare delicacy ; 
the husks can be processed into fiber for use in ropes, mats, brushes sacks, mattresses, mulching, and building material ; 
fresh leaves are weaved into shell as a container to fill rice and cooked to make ketupat
dried leaves can be made into brooms, roofing ; 
husks and shells can be used for fuel and made into charcoal ; 
trunk are used for house construction, building small bridge ; etc

Botanically, the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut.  Like other fruits, it has 3 layers ; exocarp ( skin ) , mesocarp ( husk ), and endocarp ( hard shell containing endsperm )

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