Country of origin: Costa Rica
Plant: Coconut Palm Tree
The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family) and the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m (98 ft) tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m (13–20 ft) long, and pinnae 60–90 cm long; old leaves break away cleanly, leaving the trunk smooth. On fertile soil, a tall coconut palm tree can yield up to 75 fruits per year, but more often yields less than 30, mainly due to poor cultural practices. Given proper care and growing conditions, coconut palms produce their first fruit in six to ten years, taking 15 – 20 years to reach peak production.
The origin of the plant is, after many decades, still the subject of debate. It has generally been accepted that the coconut originated in the Indian-Indonesia region and float-distributed itself around the world by riding ocean currents. Most of these claims are vigorously disputed.
The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity (70–80%+) for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity.