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Coconut Palm Description, Benefits and Planting

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    The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. [2] The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an archaic form of the word. [3] The term is derived from 16th century Portugueseand Spanish cocos, meaning “grinning face”, from the three small holes on the coconut shell that resemble human facial features.

    Found throughout the tropic and subtropics area, the coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many domestic, commercial, and industrial uses of its different parts. Coconuts are part of the daily diet of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of “water” and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. When mature they still contain some water and can be used as seednuts or processed to give oil from the kernel, charcoal from the hard shell and coir from the fibrous husk.

    The endosperm is initially in its nuclear phase suspended within the coconut water. As development continues, cellular layers of endosperm deposit along the walls of the coconut, becoming the edible coconut “flesh”. [4]When dried, the coconut flesh is called copra. The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is a refreshing drink and can be processed to create alcohol. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing VEGETATION

    Cocos nucifera trees, also known as coconut palms, are fruit-bearing tropical trees that are part of the Arecaceae family. The coconut, a round, brown-husked fruit produced by the coconut tree, is actually not a fruit or nut, but the tree’s edible endosperm. The sweet, white flesh of the coconut fruit can be enjoyed fresh or used in cooking or baking. Each coconut palm tree can produce up to 75 coconut fruits per year. The sooner you plant your coconut palm, the sooner you and your family will be able to enjoy delicious, homegrown coconut. ? Check to see if coconut palm trees will grow in your climate.

    A tropical fruit-bearing tree, the coconut palm grows best in warm climates. The United States Department of Agriculture has identified USDA plant hardiness zones 10 and 11 as being suitable for growing coconut palm trees. These areas have an average annual minimum temperature of 30 degrees F. Choose the planting location for your coconut palm tree. Take into account the size your tree will be when it reaches maturity when selecting your location. Coconut palm trees can grow up to 60 feet tall with a 25-foot spread. The location you choose for your coconut palm should also receive around seven hours of direct sunlight each day.

    The soil at your planting location can be amended to correct any deficiencies as long as it is well-draining. Pull up any grass, weeds or other unwanted vegetation at your planting location. Preexisting vegetation at your planting site can divert valuable nutrients and moisture from your tree, making it difficult for your tree to establish itself. Be sure to dig up the entire root systems of the weeds with a small shovel or you will have to pull the weeds again when they regrow. Amend the soil at your planting location by tilling organic material into the top 12 inches of soil.

    When selecting an organic material to amend your soil, aged manure, grass clippings and rotted leaves are all good choices. Work the organic materials into the soil until they are evenly distributed. This will infuse healthy soils with even more valuable nutrients and make poor soils more likely to produce successful growth. Dig a planting hole for your coconut palm tree that is at least twice as wide as your tree’s root ball. The hole should be deep enough so that your coconut palm can be planted at the same depth it was planted in the garden center where it was purchased.

    Lower your coconut palm tree into the hole. Fill the hole halfway with the amended soil. Use your hands to gently tamp down the soil inside the hole. Water your coconut palm tree with a garden hose set to a low-pressure stream to help settle the soil around your tree’s root ball. Air pockets beneath the surface of the soil can dry out the roots of your tree. Fill in the rest of the planting hole with the amended soil and tamp down. Water your coconut palm tree again using the same method you used in Step 7. Water your coconut palm tree a little every day until it is stablished. Keep the soil at your planting location moist, but not overly soppy Percentage of industry in the Phil Coconut production plays an important role in the national economy of the Philippines. According to figures published in December 2009 by the Food and Agriculture Organizationof the United Nations, it is the world’s largest producer of coconuts, producing 19,500,000 tonnes in 2009. [1]

    Production in the Philippines is generally concentrated in medium-sized farms. [2] According to the United Nations, coconut production in the Philippines grew at the rate of 5. per cent per year from 1911 to 1929, and increased by 5. 2 per cent from 1952 to 1966. [3] In 1989, it produced 11. 8 million tonnes and at the time was the second largest producer but has since surpassed Indonesia. In 1989, coconut products, coconut oil, copra (dried coconut), and desiccated coconut accounted for approximately 6. 7 percent of Philippine exports. [4]About 25 percent of cultivated land was planted in coconut trees, and it is estimated that between 25 percent and 33 percent of the population was at least partly dependent on coconuts for their livelihood.

    Historically, the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions of Luzonand the Eastern Visayas were the centers of coconut production. [4] In the 1980s, Western Mindanao and Southern Mindanao also became important coconut-growing regions. In the early 1990s, the average coconut farm was a medium-sized unit of less than four hectares. Owners, often absentee, customarily employed local peasants to collect coconuts rather than engage in tenancy relationships. The villagers were paid on a piece-rate basis.

    Those employed in the coconut industry tended to be less educated and older than the average person in the rural labor force and earned lower-than-average incomes. [4] Land devoted to cultivation of coconuts increased by about 6 percent per year during the 1960s and 1970s, a response to devaluations of the Philippine peso (PHP) in 1962 and 1970 and increasing world demand. Responding to the world market, the Philippine government encouraged processing of copra domestically and provided investment incentives to increase the construction of coconut oil mills.

    The number of mills rose from 28 in 1968 to 62 in 1979, creating substantial excess capacity. [4]The situation was aggravated by declining yields because of the aging of coconut trees in some regions. [4] In 1973, the martial law regime merged all coconut-related, government operations within a single agency, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). The PCA was empowered to collect a levy of P0. 55 per 100 kilograms on the sale of copra to be used to stabilize the domestic price of coconut-based consumer goods, particularly cooking oil.

    In 1974, the government created the Coconut Industry Development Fund (CIDF) to finance the development of a hybrid coconut tree. To finance the project, the levy was increased to P20. [4] Also in 1974, coconut planters, led by the Coconut Producers Federation (Cocofed), an organization of large planters, took control of the PCA governing board. In 1975 the PCA acquired a bank, renamed the United Coconut Planters Bank, to service the needs of coconut farmers, and the PCA director, Eduardo Cojuangco, a business associate of Marcos, became its president. Levies collected by the PCA were placed in the bank, initially interest-free[4].

    In 1978 the United Coconut Planters Bank was given legal authority to purchase coconut mills, ostensibly as a measure to cope with excess capacity in the industry. At the same time, mills not owned by coconut farmers–that is, Cocofed members or entities it controlled through the PCA–were denied subsidy payments to compensate for the price controls on coconut-based consumer products. By early 1980, it was reported in the Philippine press that the United Coconut Oil Mills, a PCA-owned firm, and its president, Cojuangco, controlled 80 percent of the Philippine oil-milling capacity. 4] Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile also exercised strong influence over the industry as chairman of both the United Coconut Planters Bank and United Coconut Oil Mills and honorary chairman of Cocofed. An industry composed of some 0. 5 million farmers and 14,000 traders was, by the early 1980s, highly monopolized. [4] In principle, the coconut farmers were to be the beneficiaries of the levy, which between March 1977 and September 1981 stabilized at P76 per 100 kilograms. Contingent benefits included life insurance, educational scholarships, and a cooking oil subsidy, but few actually benefited.

    The aim of the replanting program, controlled by Cojuangco, was to replace aging coconut trees with a hybrid of a Malaysian dwarf and West African tall varieties. The new palms were to produce five times the weight per year of existing trees. The target of replanting 60,000 trees a year was not met. [4] In 1983, 25 to 30 percent of coconut trees were estimated to be at least 60 years old; by 1988, the proportion had increased to between 35 and 40 percent. [4] When coconut prices began to fall in the early 1980s, pressure mounted to alter the structure of the industry.

    In 1985, the Philippine government agreed to dismantle the United Coconut Oil Mills as part of an agreement with the IMF to bail out the Philippine economy. Later in 1988, United States law requiring foods using tropical oils to be labeled indicating the saturated fat content had a negative impact on an already ailing industry and gave rise to protests from coconut growers that similar requirements were not levied on oils produced in temperate climates. [4] By 1995, the production of coconut in the Philippines had experienced a 6. % annual growth and later surpassed Indonesia in total output in the world. [5] PROPAGATION In nurseries, young coconuts with their husk still intact are laid sideways in a shady place and covered with coconut or banana leaves, then watered regularly until a sprout appears, usually after about 6 weeks. In a pot at home, coconuts should be just set in the soil, leaving the skin slightly exposed. It is important that the light source is good. Water it regularly until a sprout emerges. Two leaves should develop.

    In nurseries, the sprouted coconuts are planted out so that the best plants can be selected for final transplanting, which takes place about 5 months later in a permanent position during the beginning of the rainy season. variety Although good varieties of coconuts have been known to exist in the different coconut growing countries of the world, no serious attempts were made to collect them and study them in detail at a representative centre with a view to classify them systematically. Most of the varieties are generally known by the name of the locality where they are grown.

    In some cases, the same variety is known by different names in different countries. About 50 years ago some of the important varieties from reputed coconut tracts of India and nearby countries were obtained by the Departments of Agriculture of Madras and former Travancore – Cochin States and tried at their respective coconut farms in the West Coast of India (Kerala). Variety is generally a term designated to denote a single strain or a group of strains which distinctly differ in structural and functional characters from one another or a group of the same species which can be depended upon to reproduce itself true to type.

    The cross-pollination prevailing in the coconut has given rise to a highly variable progeny of palms. The promiscuous crossing occurring in the coconut is responsible for giving rise to a large scale multiplication of single genetically heterozygous varieties widely varying from each other or groups of closely related varieties. In certain regions particularly in some of the islands isolated from each other certain type suited to the locality with well defined, relatively constant phenotypic characters were found evolved possibly through generations of natural selection.

    Coconut being a seed propagated crop, requiring an unusually long period of pre-bearing life, the evolution of promising varieties through breeding became a difficult and time-consuming projectDwarf Palm * As the name indicates, the dwarf coconut is small in stature and commences bearing earlier than the tall variety. * Dwarf coconut palms flower as early as the third year after planting and come to regular bearing in the ninth year, i. e. in about six years of first bearing. * The origin of the dwarf variety has not been determined so far with any degree of accuracy. These are mutant from the tall or common form due to some change in genetic factors taking place at wright intervals leading to production of palms with pronounced size differences. * These were reported to occur where large coconut areas exist and in widely distributed places. * Although dwarf palms came into bearing early and yielded well, the copra was inclined to be softner, more pliable and leathery and not quite of such good quality as in that from tall From these it is difficult to prepare hard copra and usually a large proportion of wrinkled, distorted and rubbery copra is produced.

    The Dwarf Variety * The Dwarf or short variety which has three distinct forms, namely, those producing green, orange and yellow nuts, is liked by some planters for its earliness in bearing and short stature and attractive colour of the nuts. * The Dwarf palms are commonly known as Nicobar or Andaman Dwarf and also by certain local names. * They begin to yield nuts in about three to three and half years after planting and throw out bunches with fairly large number of nuts. * The palms are, however, irregular in bearing and susceptible to drought. The bunches with attractive, coloured nuts are generally used for decorative purposes. * The nuts are small in size and ovoid or round in shape. * They are often harvested in the tender nut stage for the sweet water which provides a cool and refreshing drink. * The copra obtained from the nut weighs about 3 oz (85 gm) with 65 per cent oil content. * It is leathery and is not of much commercial importance. * For these reasons it is considered as an uneconomic variety. * Dwarf types from Malaya, Nigeria, Ceylon and certain other places have been introduced at the Central Coconut Research Station, Kasaragod and are under study.

    Tall Palm * This is the ordinary or the common tall variety of palms most extensively grown on a plantation scale in all coconut tracts of the world. * It is a long lived palm living generally to an age of about 80 to 90 years, although sometimes older trees are also met with. * The palms thrive well under different soil conditions varying from littoral sands to red loams and laterites and also under varying climatic and rainfall conditions. * It is observed to grow well up to an altitude of 3,000 ft. above the sea level. It is fairly resistant to diseases and pests. The tree attains a height of about 15cm to 18cm or more. * It begins to bear in about 8 to 10 years after planting. * The palms of this variety are generally cross-pollinated in nature, although, in summer months there exist chances of self pollination due to the overlapping of spadices. * After pollination, the nuts mature in a period of 12 months. * The nut is medium to big in size varying in shape from spheroid to linear-oblong and with colours varying from green, yellow and orange to shades of brown.

    * The quality and quantity of copra form nuts of this variety are satisfactory. About 6,000 nuts yield a ton of copra. * These are generally the palms recommended for large scale planting as they are superior to the dwarf palmsThe West Coast Variety * Of the varieties of coconut available in India, the West Coast variety, which is otherwise known as the ordinary or common Tall variety, is the one that is extensively cultivated in all the important coconut tracts of India and is of commercial importance. * This variety is found to grow well in littoral sand as well as in the interior and up to an altitude of about 3,000 feet above sea evel. * It has been in cultivation in India from very ancient times and may, therefore, be considered as indigenous to the country.

    * The West Coast variety is a long-lived, hardy, multipurpose palm, yielding nuts, copra, oil and fibre of good quality. * The tree also yields, on tapping, good quantity and quality of coconut juice or toddy which can be fermented or converted into jaggery or sugar. * In this variety, growers recognize different sub-varieties or forms based mostly on the colour and shape of nuts or bearing capacity. The nuts of this variety are generally of medium size, varying in shape from spheroid to linear with colour varying from green, yellow, yellow-orange to shades of brown. * Some of the forms show variation in the thickness of the husk and thickness of meat or kernel. * Trees yielding large number of medium-sized round nuts in almost every leaf axil without any tendency for the bunches to buckle or droop, are considered the best for planting on a large scale. * The West Coast variety commences to yield in about six to eight years after planting when grown under favourable conditions.

    The time of first bearing may, however, be prolonged to ten to fifteen years or even more if conditions are unfavourable or adverse. * The yield varies according to the ecotypes selected for cultivation and the conditions under which they are grown. * The average yield of copra per nut is about 142 gm and the oil content in the copra is about 72 per cent by chemical extraction on dry basis. Hybrids * Some progenies of the Dwarf Orange type which are considered as natural crosses are found to turn out to be Semi-Talls and give good yield of nuts and copra of good quality. The seedlings which give rise to these off-type palms are conspicuous in the nursery by their vigorous growth, height, early splitting of leaflets and petiole colour, which are quite distinct from those of the pure Dwarf seedlings. * Artificial crosses between the ordinary Tall variety and the Dwarf variety have resulted in the production of economic hybrids.

    * The Tall (female) X Dwarf (male) hybrids are produced at the Coconut Research Stations at Kasaragod and Nileshwar. * These hybrids combine in them the early bearing character of the Dwarf with the desirable copra character of the Tall. They are also short in stature and give fairly high yields. * The nuts, however, are small when compared to those of the Tall variety. * Consequently, the hybrids may not be liked by the coconut growers who realise a good income from the sale of raw husks required for retting purposes for the production of good quality coir yarn. * Of the two Dwarf types, Orange and Green, the Orange Dwarf appears to be a better male parent for the production of promising hybrids.

    * Crosses between some of the Semi Talls and Talls have also given rise to economic hybrids. Studies made so far have indicated the need for selection of the parents on the basis of economic transmissible characters for the production of good hybrids. * It has however, to be pointed out that the progenies of hybrid palms should not be indiscriminately planted as they will segregate for the parental characters and give rise to undesirable dwarf palms. Godavari Ganga(Hybrid) * It is a hybrid between East coastal tall as female parent and Ganga bondam as male parent. * This variety is developed by scientists of Agricultural Research station, Ambajipet, upto now 2 lack seedlings are supplied for cultivation in Andhra Pradesh. On National wide this variety can be recommended for A. P and Tamil Nadu states. * This variety starts bearing from 6th year and yields on an average of 140 fruits per tree. This hybrid contains copra of 15 grm and oil content of 68%. Other VarietiesLaccadive Ordinary * This variety resembles the ordinary West Coast variety. The nuts are medium-sized. The yield per tree per annum is about 124 nuts.

    The copra content is about 142 gm and the oil content in the copra is 72 per cent. Laccadive Small * The palm resembles the ordinary West Coast variety in stature, but the nuts are definitely small-sized and spheroid or linear in shape. Large number of nuts are produced in a bunch and the copra is of good quality. The palm is, however, an alternate bearer and produces not less than 150 nuts per tree per year. * The copra content is only 57 gm but the oil content of the copra is as high as 75 per cent. New Guinea * This is a robust palm with tall and stout trunk. The nuts are large, spheroid or ellipsoid in shape, the colour varying from green to brown. * The nuts contain plenty of sweet water in the tender nut stage.

    The quality of the copra is not as good as that of the West Coast variety. The palm yields, on an average, in the gravelly soil of the West Coast, about 65 nuts per tree per year. * It has a copra content of about 227 gm and an oil content of 66 per cent. Cochin China * This is a robust palm giving nuts which are large-sized, spheroid in shape and coloured green to shades of brown. * The water in the tender nut is sweet and plentiful. It yields about 86 nuts per tree per year. * The copra is of fair quality and weighs about 227 gm per nut and has an oil content of 66 per cent. Java * This is a tall variety with fairly stout trunk.

    The nuts are medium to large in size and round of somewhat elongated in shape. * It yields about 95 nuts per tree per year. The copra is of good quality. It has a copra content of 198 gm and an oil content of 66 per cent. Siam * This is a fairly robust palm. The nuts are green in colour and medium to large in size and ellipsoid in shape. * The water in the tender nut is sweet.

    The palm yields about 50 nuts per tree per year. * The copra is of good quality and weights about 227 gm per nut. The oil content of copra is 74 per cent. http://www. ikisan. com/crop%20specific/eng/links/ap_coconutSeed%20Varieties. htmlUSES1) coconut milk for cooking, by adding it as the liquid ingredient in cooking dried gabi or taro leaves (a delicacy in Bicol region, Philippines, sometimes known us ‘Bicol express’ if fiery red labuyo peppers were added into it, so hot)2) Coconut husk as floor polisher is common in elementary grades in the Philippines. We were assigned as cleaners for designated days (Mondays thru Fridays) and we used to polished the floor with coconut husk . 3) Coconut shells for fuel, is often used by villagers who didn’t have electric or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) as source of fuel.

    Even today, when we ran out of gas or LPG, I still use the coconut shells as fuel. 4) Young coconut meat for snacks, the ‘buko’ or young coconut with succulent soft whitey and fleshy meat is often the favorite snacks in the barrio or even in the city, here in Manila. It costs 50 cents in dollar value if you happen to tour the Philippines. Try it, I’m not kidding, it’s a healthy snack. If you have UTI (urinary tract infection) you can drink the cool, fresh coconut water for an immediate relief. 5) Coconut milk for hair spa or conditioner is usually used by the villagers in the barrio, especially those girls who have long strands of hair.

    It leaves a shiny look and fresh smell to the hairs, after you squeeze some juice of lime or lemon. You hair will never look dry. 6) Coconut leaves for roofing materials are still used by farmers who cannot afford expensive roofing materials. 7) Coconut timber for lumber is more affordable than other lumber materials. 8) Coconut ribs for brooms are still used in the country, especially the street sweepers in the city. Every household have two or three sets of coconut brooms for cleaning purposes. 9) Young coconut meat for

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