Coconut palms (Cocos Nucifera)
In the coastal parts of India, there is scarcely a tree that is better known to the general public than the coconut tree. The coconut tree has been cultivated in India for centuries. It is not certain whether the coconut tree is indigenous to India or not. All the other species of the genus Cocos are indigenous to South or Central America. For this reason, it has been suggested that the coconut tree also originated in those parts of the world from where fruits were carried all over the Pacific by sea currents and winds and thus were brought to India many centuries ago.
It is a tall un-branched tree, straight or slightly curved, marked with ring like scars. The leaves are long, feather-like in appearance, consisting of a stout axis on which the numerous leaflets are fixed. The manifold uses of the coconut palm tree are:
1. Cocowood, 2. Brooms (made from the leaf ribs called Goa Broom), 3. The fermented sap (Toddy), 4. The sugar from the sap (Jiggery), 5. The nut itself (Coconut), 6. The fibre from the outer rind of nut (Coir), 7. The water from the fruit (tender coconut water), 8. The fleshy kernel used for eating and cooking, 9. The leaves for thatching; and 10. The oil extracted from the dry kernel (Coconut Oil).