Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Coconut Palm Cocos nucifera


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Family: Arecaceae, Palm view all from this family

Description Large palm, the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. Trunk brownish gray. Leaves pinnate 4–6 m. long, and pinnae 60–90 cm.long; old leaves break away cleanly, leaving the trunk smooth. Flowers polygamomonoecious, both male and female flowers in the same inflorescence, occuring continuously. Believed to be largely cross-pollinated. Coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut.

Dimensions Height: 24-30 m. (80-100 ft.).

Habitat Beaches & shorelines, Cities, suburbs & towns.

Range Florida.

Discussion Coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word. Coconuts have spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild is light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents.

Nearly all parts of the palm are useful, and it has significant economic value.
In Sanskrit it is kalpa vriksha ("the tree which provides all the necessities of life"). In Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ("the tree of a thousand uses"). In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly the "Tree of Life".