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Uses of Coconut

Updated on April 13, 2011

The coconut palm (Cocos nucifera L. 1753) is a dioecious palm typical coastlines of hot countries, the only recognized species of the genus Cocos, the family Arecaceae, subfamily Cocoideae.It has large herbal uses


 A native of the Indonesian archipelago, and spread in antiquity throughout the Pacific area, with many varieties (some NAND gates) that differ in color, size and shape of the fruit. The Europeans (Portuguese and Spanish) found the coconut exploring the western coasts of Central-South, and from 1525 began to cultivate it even spread on the east coast.



The stem is slender and columnar, 20 to 40 m high with a base diameter of 50-70 cm, thin 25-35 cm high, with the gray area, marked by the scars left by the ring-shaped fallen leaves and foliage, ending at the apex with a crown of large leaves paripennate.


The roots are sorted, cylindrical, uniform diameter, heavy development but short-lived, replaced by adventitious roots that grow from the base of the plant, and extending in the surface layers of the soil, adventitious aerial roots develop from the collar plant, up to 1 m high, with special training lenticellari.


The leaves are paripennate, 4-5 m long, with the base dilated to form a large sheath, erected in the first 2 years of life, then falling, leaves consist of lightweight, slender and short stalked, divided into two, very slightly striate and arched.


The flowers are small yellowish inflorescence spadix meeting, branched in 50 sub-branches, protected externally by a large spathe concave. Each plant in each year from 6 to 12 flowers produced at different times. In the basal part of the branches of the spadix are generally 5 female flowers (the palm is dioecious), formed by a perigonium of 6 tepals, a thickened lobes, arranged in two overlapping whorls, consisting of 3 parts, the stamens are rudimentary, the ' ovary is composed of 3 carpels, of which only one will be fertilized. The male flowers are very numerous, about 300 for each branch of the spadix, with a perigonium of 6 elements, have six stamens, a pistil rudimentary at the apical 3 teeth fitted with nectar glands, to attract insect pollinators. The pollination is wind, insects.


The fruits are drupes massive, commonly known as coconut, about 1 kg, which are formed after 2 weeks of bloom, and grow rapidly for about 6 months. Exocarp thin and usually have smooth red-brown, fibrous mesocarp and lightweight at maturity which is closely united all'endocarpo (shell) woody and very hard, and that the base 3 has a thinner pores are clearly visible, also known as "eyes" . The shell is tightly adherent to the integument of the seed it contains.


The seed is the flesh of the nut, has a thin brown seed coat, tight-fitting all'endosperma fat (copra), consisting of a 1-3 cm thick layer that forms a cavity containing a milky liquid called "water Coconut ", the embryo from the endosperm is wrapped at one end of the fruit. Germination takes place with the production of haustoria that develops within the seed, forming a fleshy tissue that apple, and the opposite side of the cotyledon is formed protruding from the shell by a pore (eyes), creating the gem from which spread the stem with the leaves and roots.



The optimal habitat is the coast of tropical regions with annual rainfall between 1,300 and 2,000 mm, up to altitudes of 600 m above sea level


The plant is naturally present or has been spread throughout the inter-tropical band of the planet between 20 ° -25 ° of latitude north and south, where the climate is hot and humid, with average annual temperatures around 29 ° C, without large temperature ranges.


The proliferation is natural due to the fact that nuts, with the hull, floating on the sea and then caught by storms is transported by ocean currents from one island to another, as can be verified by large amounts of nuts stranded on the beaches after major storms and tides sigiziali.


Given the considerable interest in the cultivation of coconut groves, especially for the production of copra is believed that man has played a significant role in the spread of the plant.


· As an ornamental plant in garden in climates suitable glass or in an apartment where the climate is unfavorable, the plants which grow erect stems directly from the nut resting on the ground in our climate is generally grown in pots in confined premises with controlled temperature and humidity.

· In the countries of origin for the production of coconuts used for fresh consumption.

· It is obtained for the production of copra coconut margarine, vegetable oil with a high melting point used as a substitute for butter in baking, or for the manufacture of soaps, glues and finishes. The by-products of industrial processing of copra, copra cake like, are used as feed for animals. Also from copra, ground to a powder, yields a flour used for food purposes.

· Mesocarp is obtained from the fibers of coir fiber used in plaits, carpets and ropes. Textile Labelling initials CC.

· With the sap extracted from young inflorescences affecting yields the 'wine' of palm, palm vinegar, palm sugar and palm brandy.

· The young buds are edible (cabbage palm).

· Strains is obtained by coconut wood, used for ease of processing for furniture, an umbrella handles, or lodgings.

· The leaves are used as fibers to weave hats, mats and roofs for their huts.

· Tamil women in Sri Lanka using the oil obtained by prolonged boiling coconut milk as a moisturizer to relieve stretch marks the birth and to soften the hair. These people also drink coconut milk mixed with finely chopped leaves of pepper as a cure for poor eyesight.

· The oil is commonly used in shaving products (cream, soap and shaving foam)


Medicinal Properties

 Coconut water, derived from ripe fruit has properties refreshing, refreshing and slightly laxative.

Opening of the coconut


The coconut shell has a very strong, and its spherical shape also makes it difficult to handle.


To open it well before drilling is one of the "eyes" (one of the three is easily puncture-proof) with a punch or a bottle opener and drain the milk, also called coconut water.


Then you can hit it with a hammer (preferably a tow by a mason), possibly supporting the nut on a hard surface and tough, or, having experience, hit directly in the hands holding it suspended, as do the masons to break the bricks.


If you wish to support the nut to hit it, you should not do it by resting it on a kitchen table, is much better to rely on a block of stone, or something similar consistency.


Another way is to give a series of sharp taps with a scythe all around the diameter. Gradually, the wooden shell is broken up into two halves to split exact. The procedure, however, is not simple.


An even cleaner is to use a vise of appropriate size. You put the nut between the jaws and close the vise slowly until split.


Finally, you can use simple scissors garden, acting at the first hole with the cork: the shell will sell easily, and you can continue with the scissors in the same break it into fragments.


Completely detach the flesh from the shell is not equally easy, using knives is good to be careful not to hurt, better to use a boxcutter from Parmesan cheese.


The pulp (a little 'dried) detaches from the shell in a natural manner (drying of the pulp is the way used to extract the pulp from the shell in the preparation of copra).


Another alternative is to put the coconut in the oven at about 150-200 degrees for several minutes, empty it of fluid. The heat dries and causes cracks in the shell, which can then break easily.


The method most common in countries where the plant grows naturally is to hit the party with the "eyes" using a machete. It is advisable for beginners, very careful.


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    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 

      5 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Thank you daffodil2010 for the concise and very useful information about the ubiquitous coconut.

      In addition to all of the other attributes you outline, as a diabetic I find the coconut water to be an excellent rehydration fluid with only a small amount of natural sugar.

      Kind regards Peter

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I've always liked coconut but I didn't realise or appreciate all that it offers. Thank you for sharing all the benefits and knowledge about it. Voted up.

    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Coconut is tops, second only to chocolate. I can tell you on good authority, though, that chewing a few pieces of fresh coconut throughout an evening can give a person a very bad stomach ache.

      I found the scissors solution hard to believe, but the oven method seems ideal! Thanks much for posting this info in a well done hub. Voted up and useful.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      I had no idea that coconuts offered so much! Very cool.

    • Ancillotti profile image


      7 years ago from Brasil, Vitoria - ES

      Beautiful hub! And useful!


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