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Is a coconut a fruit, nut or seed?
The coconut is part of the palm family, and the coconut tree produces a delicious orb we all love and enjoy.
But the coconut is technically a fruit that has an outer fleshy part with a hard shell containing the seed this type of fruit is known as a drupe. Other groups include almonds, peaches, and cherries.
Coconuts are also considered general nuts because they have a shell and a seed, but because it splits open to expose the seed when it’s ripe it’s not a true nut. True nuts by contrast do not split open, so a coconut is technically a fruit a general nut and a seed.
Lifecycle of the Coconut Tree
Interesting Coconut Facts:
- Every bit of the coconut is used. As a result, coconuts are called the “Tree of Life” and can produce drink, fiber, food, fuel, utensils, musical instruments, and much more.
- When intra-venous (IV) solution was in short supply, doctors during World War II and Vietnam used coconut water in substitution of IV solutions.
- Botanically, the coconut palm is not a tree since there is no bark, no branches, or secondary growth. A coconut palm is a woody perennial monocotyledon with the trunk being the stem.
- It takes 11 -12 months for the coconut to mature.
- At one time scientists identified over 60 species of Cocos palm. Today, the coconut is a monotypic with one species, nucifera. However, there are over 80 varieties of coconut palms, which are defined by characteristics such as dwarf and tall.
- Possibly the oldest reference is from Cosmas, a 5th century AD Egyptian traveler. He wrote about the “Indian nut” or “nut of India” after visiting India and Ceylon. Some scholars believe Cosmas was describing a coconut.
- Soleyman, an Arab merchant, visited China in the 9th century and describes the use of coir fiber and toddy made from coconuts.
- In the 16th century, Sir Francis Drake called coconut “nargils”, which was the common term used until the 1700’s when the word coconut was established.
- Coconut growing regions are as far north as Hawaii and as far south as Madagascar.
Close-up shot of ripe coconuts growing on a tree.
Pink flower growing inside half a coconut with other green plants in the background.
Coconuts hanging down from a tree behind two yellow light bulbs.
Two brown coconuts hanged on a tree with the sea and the mountains in the background.
Multiple dried coconuts sitting on the ground. All of them are dried, and some of them are cracked.
Fresh coconuts growing on a coconut tree with palm leaves and the sky in the background.
A beautiful palm tree illuminated by the sun with the cloudy sky in the background.
Small island home in Koh Phangan and many palm trees in front of it.
Tall palm tree photographed from below and the sun peeking through its leaves.