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The Types of Coconut Palm Tree

By Carlye Jones ; Updated September 21, 2017
The Atlantic Tall coconut palm tree is one of the heaviest coconut producers as well as one of the most common.
coconut palms image by Adrian Hillman from Fotolia.com

While there are more than 150 types of coconut palm trees, there are a few that dominate the landscape. This is a result of both natural adaptation and hybrids created by humans. The most popular coconut palm trees, of course, are those that produce both large quantities and produce them quickly.

Atlantic Tall

The Atlantic Tall, also often called the Jamaica Tall, thrives in sandy soil and along beaches, and is not bothered by strong winds or salt spray, making it one of the most common types of coconut palm tree. It only takes an Atlantic Tall about six years to begin producing coconuts, but it can live up to 100 years. It also grows to astounding heights, reaching 85 feet. Atlantic Tall trees also are heavy producers, and a single tree can yield 300 coconuts per year. Coconuts from the Atlantic Tall have mild-flavored water, but plenty of meat.


A hybrid created for commercial purposes, the Maypan coconut palm tree grows slowly but is able to yield coconuts within three years. It is the result of crossing the Malaya Dwarf with the Pacific Tall coconut tree. Like the Malaya, the Maypan is sensitive to salt spray and needs richer soil than sandy beaches can provide. It produces large amounts of coconuts, but requires regular watering.

Malaya Dwarf

The name Malaya Dwarf may be a bit deceiving because this coconut tree can grow up to 40 feet tall. It starts producing coconuts within three years, while still fairly small, which is how it earned its name. This tree does not thrive too close to a beach because it does not withstand salty sea spray very well. It is found in richer inland soils. Malaya Dwarf coconuts are low on meat but have very sweet water.