MacDaniels, Laurence H. Horticultural Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Chiarappa, Luigi Plant Production and Protection Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
Last reviewed:April 2021
- Production and culture
- Processing and products
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A large palm, Cocos nucifera, widely grown throughout the tropics and valuable for its fruit and fiber. The coconut (Cocos nucifera) belongs to the plant family Arecaceae. The name coconut can refer to the tree and its fruit. Usually found near the seacoast, the coconut tree (Fig. 1) requires high humidity, abundant rainfall [1.5 m (60 in.)], and a mean annual temperature of approximately 30°C (86°F). Southern Florida, with a mean temperature of 25°C (77°F), is situated at the limit of successful growth in the United States. The origin of the coconut has been in dispute, but strong evidence points to southern Asia, with wide dispersal by ocean currents and human migrations. See also: Arecales; Fiber crops; Fruit; Fruit, tree; Horticultural crops
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