About the Coconut Palm


Coconut palms are trees that are part of the Arecaceae family. The scientific name for coconut palms is Cocos nucifera. It is a vast palm tree that is commonly cultivated for ornamental purposes, particularly throughout the tropics. The trees originated in the South Pacific and Malay Archipelago regions.


Coconut palm trees are large and can grown to be approximately 98 feet in height. They have single trunks that are both columnar and smooth. The trunks are a light brownish-gray color and are covered with a crown of leaves. The bases tend to be swollen. The trunks in general are slender, and usually leaning or curved. Some cultivars of coconut palms have erect trunks. The pinnate leaves are shaped similarly to feathers are can grow up to 18 feet in height and four feet in width, with leaf stalks that are between three and five feet.


Coconut palm trees generally appear on sandy shorelines in tropical regions. They are able to tolerate salt spray and brackish soils. Despite their tolerance of salt spray, salt is not necessary for coconut palms to thrive. The trees can manage a wide array of soil varieties, as well as a large range of pH levels. They need soil that is well-drained. Full sun is necessary. The trees can tolerate temporary flooding and wind.

Pests and Leaves

As with the majority of plants, there are various different pests and diseases that could cause problems with coconut palm trees. Some pests that are problematic to the tree include palm aphids, scale, mealybugs, spider mites, caterpillars and palm weevils. Some diseases that affect coconut palms are Thielavaviopsis and lethal yellowing.


The same inflorescences (arrangements of flowers) bear both female and male flowers of coconut palm trees. These inflorescences come out of sheaths that are shaped liked canoes, and can be two to three feet in length and have between 10 and 50 branchlets. Female flowers are bigger than male flowers. All of the flowers are a pale yellow color. Flowering of the trees starts at between four and six years.


There are many different uses of coconut palm trees. Coconut meat (the fleshy and white seed area) is commonly used for cooking and eaten fresh. The nut produces oil for margarine and cooking. Coconut milk and coconut water are both also made from the coconut palm tree. The husks are often used for the production of forest tree saplings, and in certain countries (such as India) the shells are used to make bowls.

Keywords: coconut palm tree, coconuts, coconut palms

About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, eHow.com and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.