Coconut is the name given to the fruit (sometimes called a nut) from the coconut palm tree. This fruit has three layers which are the outside (brown fibrous husk), inner (brown hard shell) and inside (white edible “meat” and coconut water). The edible portion of the coconut can be used to produce cooking oil, coconut milk and has many other culinary uses (in fresh or dried forms). There are also a variety of other traditional and modern uses for the other parts of the coconut. The coconut palm resembles other palm trees and can grow to 30 m (98 ft) in height with large branches. An average coconut palm produces about 50 fruit per year, but this can be improved with proper cultivation practices. Let’s find out where the coconuts come from and where they are grown today.
Where do coconuts originate from?
The coconut has long been associated with the tropics, especially tropical islands, and it was in the tropical regions of the world where it originated. However, the experts do not all agree on the origin of the widespread species. It is generally accepted that coconuts originated somewhere in the Indo-Pacific region and the oldest coconut fossils have been found in Australia and India. However, some believe that the origin of the coconut is actually northwestern South America. The coconut was spread across the tropics via the ocean and by people sailing to other tropical regions. They are now found throughout the tropics.
Where are coconuts grown today?
The largest producer of coconuts is the Philippines at approximately 20 million metric tons. Other large producers of this fruit include Indonesia and India, with smaller crops of commercial value in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia. Coconuts are not grown in commercial numbers in Europe (the climate is not suitable) or Australia (even though the climate is suitable).