Imagining a palm tree people always think of some beautiful place on the seashore, where you can relax in the shade of the large green palm leaves waving in the light breeze. A palm tree has always been associated with romance, it symbolizes tropical beauty. The coconut palm tree is the national tree of the Maldives.
The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a large long-living palm that yields the fruit of a coconut. The tree can last up to 100 years and can grow up to 98 feet tall. It can blossom up to thirteen times a year. The tree has a single bole the bark of which is smooth and ring-scarred. The pinnate leaves can reach 13-20 feet of length. They consist of linear-lanceolate bright green leaflets.
The number of the palm trees variety throughout the world today is quite striking. There exist more than 150 kinds of the coconut palm.
Coconut trees are generally divided into tall and dwarf ones. Depending on to what extent the land is fertile, the palm can yield different quantities of the fruit. Growing on a highly fertile soil, a tall coconut palm tree can provide up to 75 fruits per year, but more often the number can not get past the mark of 30. However, for the time being it can be seen a considerable elevation in the practice of cultivation.
The scientific term of the coconut palm tree is cocos nucifera. The word coconut is most likely to come from the Spanish and Portuguese word coco, which has a meaning of "a grin", "a monkey face" due to the resemblance of the coconut fruit to a human face, or a monkey head, since there are three small indentations on the shell of the fruit. Nucifera, in its turn, comes from Latin, and means "nut-bearing", where fero means "I bear" and nux is "a nut". In Sanskrit, the coconut palm tree bears the name of kalpa vriksha, which means "the tree giving all the necessities for living". It is called like this due to the variety of useful properties and compounds the coconut palm and its fruit possess.
The coconut trees grow in rainforests, tropical and subtropical areas. They are widely spread in Malaysia, southern Asia, India, South America, the Pacific Islands. The trees require sufficient warm conditions for a successful growth, they are intolerant to low temperatures and can not prosper in cold weather and yield properly under such conditions. Harsh frost will likely kill a tree.
The coconut palm prefers the coastal areas with sandy soils, with a high level of humidity and rainfalls. Salty air is a key factor, too. For a favorable growth the plant also needs much sunlight. The palms rarely grow under low humidity conditions, even in spite of the temperature being rather high. An optimal growth is achieved with the average temperature of 81 F, while with the temperature of 70 F it slows down and aggravates. To grow properly without any care the coconut palm tree requires an average temperature of 53-56 F every day of the year. The rainfall amount should exceed the mark of 1000 mm per year. Direct sunlight is also necessary for an optimal growth.
Worldwide the coconut tree is grown in more than 80 countries. The trees are almost impossible to be cultivated in dry conditions, they require constant irrigation, or else the new leaves will not open and the old ones tend to become dried-up, hence the improper yield of the fruit.
Not only the coconut palm provides the fruit but can also be used in manufacturing various supplies, furnishing and equipment.
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