So…what are coconuts? The funny thing about the term “coconut” is there is no scientific name for it. In fact, the scientific term Cocos nucifera stands for the coconut tree or coconut palm. One interesting debate is whether the coconut is a fruit or nut. You could understand why most people would consider it a nut given its name and hard shell. The botanical term for a coconut is a drupe. A drupe is an indehiscent fruit or stone fruit that consists of several layers. There’s the Exocarp which is the skin and outer most layer. The Mesocarp is flesh of the coconut and is also the thickest layer. It surrounds the shell. Finally there is the Endocarp which is the inner most layer. Peaches and mangoes are also drupes that have layers similar to that of a coconut. The difference of course is that the mesocarp of the peach and mango is edible while the coconut mesocarp is a dry husk.
Based off the scientific term Cocos nucifera, coconuts come from trees. Specifically they come from palm trees. They say a coconut palm can live up to 100 years and grow up to 98 feet in height. Along with these tall coconut trees, there are smaller ones known as dwarfs which do not produce as much coconuts. There is no exact amount of coconuts a coconut tree can produce. This all depends on the fertility of the land the tree has been planted on. A coconut palm tree growing on premium fertile soil could produce as much as 75 coconuts depending on it’s height. This however is a rarity as the average tree tends to produce no more then 30 coconuts.
Coconut trees grow in rain forests, tropical and subtropical areas. The best conditions for growth are highly warm and humid with powerful amount of sunlight. The low 80’s Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for optimal growth. The tree can continue to grow in the low 70’s temperature however it would be at a much slower rate with the tree possibly becoming aggravated. These type a temperatures still require the palm tree to be attended to. In order to grow without any care, the coconut tree would require a daily temperature in the mid 50’s Fahrenheit with a rainfall of at least 1000 millimeters per year. Currently coconuts are grown in 80 to 90 countries worldwide. In 2013 the top 5 coconut producers were Indonesia, Philippines, India, Brazil and Sri Lanka.
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