I am sometimes flummoxed by what is a fruit, a nut or a seed or indeed a tree …Take the Papaya tree which grows in abundance here and also I will add grows very quickly …It has fruit with the same name as the tree but it is a PLANT …It has no branches and a soft stem with all the very large leaves at the top and can grow up to 10 metres high. It is, in fact, a herbaceous plant as the stem bears little wood and stays green and soft until it dies. But ask anyone here and they will call it a Papaya tree….
Which brings me back to the Coconut nut well it has a hard outer shell-like a nut. Don’t you think my tree looks magnificent?
Botanically it is known as a one-seeded drupe otherwise known as a dry drupe.
Where does that leave us? With a fruit, a nut and a seed?
The name itself infers it is a nut….afterall a nut can be defined as a one-seeded fruit. But true nuts do not open on maturity and release their seeds the nut has to decay and then it releases its seeds and is dispersed by an animal either in its faeces or just by being dropped on the ground.
The coconut we buy in the shops or market has no resemblance to the coconut on my tree and until I moved here I thought there was only one type of coconut…
There are so many here coconuts for drinking, eating the soft flesh, hard like the ones I knew…I am certainly furthering my education in leaps and bounds although I have always been inquisitive…Yeh Yeh…Ok..plain nosey…I like to know things…
It has 3 layers the first is typically green …This layer is called exocarp then you get the fibrous husk( mesocarp) this surrounds the woody layer ( endocarp) which surrounds the seed…. which is what you get in the supermarkets.
But did you know???
The coconut palm is not a tree as it has no bark, no branches, or secondary growth. It is a woody perennial known as monocotyledons as the trunk is the stem.
The coconut is known as the Tree of Life as every bit of the tree is used for drinks, fibre, food, fuel, musical instruments, cooking utensils and so much more.
it is also claimed although not formally recorded that during World War 11 and the Vietnam war when intravenous (IV) solution was in short supply, doctors used coconut water as a substitute for IV solutions.
If the shell of the coconut has not been cracked, the coconut water inside is usually sterile – that is, free of bacteria and the like. So technically it could be injected safely into people, to replace fluid loss? It might, however, be said it might just be better just to drink it to replace blood plasma.
So do we now know what the coconut is? A fruit, nut or seed?
Mangoes, peaches and almonds are in the same drupe family as the coconut. Although the coconut is a dry drupe and peaches and mango are fleshy drupes. Well, I clearly am not a botanical expert but in my world but I have always thought of those as fruits so the coconut to me is a cross between a fruit and a nut which we eat the flesh off and drink the lovely juice of a huge seed.
There you have it!
Just in case you missed it…Here is my post on how to make your own coconut oil... Which would make a lovely present.
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