Cocos nucifera L., Sp. Pl. 1188. 1753. Brandis, l.c. 556; Becc. & Hook. f. in Hook. f., l.c.; Talbot, l.c.; Bailey. l.c. 175; R.R. Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 33. 1972; Whitmore, l.c. 48.
English: Coconut palm.
Vern.: Narel, Naryal; fruit Khopra.
KAMAL A. MALIK
Stem up to 22 m tall, thick at the base, stout, smooth with prominent rings, greyish, unbranched, remains of old leaves on the top of the stem. A tuft of leaves arises from apex of the stem, leaves pinnate, 3-4 m long, 120-180 cm broad, bright green, coriaceous, petiole green, smooth, unarmed, concavo-convex, stout, 1.1-1.3 m long, young petiole covered with brownish fibrous sheath, leaflets 100-105, opposite near the base, alternate and opposite near to the tip, acuminate. Bracts 45-90 cm long. Male flowers numerous on the upper part, small, coriaceous; sepals small; petals 1-1.1 x 0.4-0.45 cm; stamens 6. Female flowers ovoid, much larger than the male, having several broad bracteoles; sepals 2 x 1 mm. Fruit very large, 15-25 cm or more in length, green or yellowish, covered with thick fibrous mass, woody, inner wall lined by white endosperm matter and a milky fluid containing cytokinins.
Fl. Per.: Whole of the year.
Lectotype: Tenga of Rheede, Hort. Ind. Malab. 1:1-8. t. 1-4. 1678-1703.
Distribution: Origin unknown. In Pakistan, scattered on the areas near the sea shore. It is cultivated throughout the tropics, generally near the sea coast.
Economically coconut palm is very important. Every part of the plant is utilized for some purpose or the other. In addition to yielding fruit and drink, it provides materials of great economic and commercial importance to the natives. It yields oil, milk, copra, fibre, toddy etc. The outer wood of the stem is used as an astringent gargle in cases of sore throat, the oil is used in preparing ointments to cure cough and as a vermifuge.