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The coconut palm – the tree of life

There's scarcely a tree that is so useful and versatile as the coconut palm tree. From shelter to skincare to food – the coconut palm can do it all.

But if you want to be precise, you have to acknowledge that this palm is not a tree at all, but simply a palm. The core of the trunk is soft and moist because this is where water is transported from the roots to the leaves. The outer layer of the trunk is hard as stone. In fact after a tree has reached a certain age, it's so hard that you cannot knock a nail into it. Although the trunk is so strong, it's also very flexible and, thanks to its massive root system, it is capable of withstanding even the most powerful hurricanes. Because of their strength, coconut palm trunks are frequently used in house building in tropical countries.

The palm leaves, or fronds, can be plaited to make a rainproof shelter or roof, but also mats for sitting, sleeping or eating. Coconuts, the fruit of the palm, have so many uses that it's hard to know where to start listing them. Even the soft outer fibres which surround the coconut – making sure it lands softly and floats successfully – can be used to make ropes, mats, hats, baskets, carpets, insulation and for stuffing mattresses and cushions.

Once the drinable coconut water and the edible flash, or copra, have been removed, you are left with the hard outer skin of the nut. This has been used – probably for millenia – to make drinking vessels, bowls, scoops, vases and ornaments. It can also be made into a musical instrument with the nut serving as the resonance chamber. With their very high carbon content, coconut shells make wonderful vharcoal. And the ashes of a coconut fire make an excellent soil improver if you add a maximum of 30% to your garden soil. Or close the circle by using it to fertilize a coconut palm tree.

The "juice" of the palm, sometimes called palm nectar, is extracted from the flowers. It's rich in B vitamins. It's fermented to make palm wine or cooked to thicken it into palm honey or palm sugar. Ripe coconuts contain the most coconut flesh, or copra,  and you know the coconut is ripe when it drops off the coconut palm.

Press release from McBrikett GmbH


Source: openPR