The coconut tree, whose scientific name is Cocos nucifera, belongs to the palm tree family. Its slender, sloping ringed trunk grows to a maximum height of 80 feet from a swollen base. The tree is surmounted by an elegant crown of huge, featherlike leaves. Its mature fruits have a thick fibrous husk that surrounds a single-seeded nut.
The tree is arguably one of the most versatile fruit on the tropic. Every part of the fruit and the tree itself has a use and has been traditionally used in various ways in different parts of the world. Variously known as The Tree of Life, The Tree of a Thousand uses, among many other fancy names, all the parts of the tree, from the leaves all the way to the roots has
had many uses in the tropical countries. These uses and benefits have, with time, been introduced to other civilizations.
Uses of coconut tree
- Source of food; coconuts, when eaten either cooked or raw, provides a good source of food. The fruit is rich in minerals, and vitamins.
- Thatching; since the leaves of coconut palms are beautiful and very large, they are used to make fences and roofs for small recreational huts.
- Substitute milk; besides being used in various cuisines to thicken the soup, coconut milk can be used as a substitute for milk for persons with milk allergy.
- Natural scrubbers; coconut husks are used as scrubbers to clean many household vessels including dinner cups and plates, and the floor.
- Hair conditioning; apply coconut milk to your scalp and hair. Allow a few minutes and rinse it. It will soften, shine and reduce undesirable hair fall.
- Provides craft materials; the coconut’s hard shell is a popular craft material. It is easy to carve and color them into attractive art pieces.
- Making ropes; coconut husks are used to make ropes which when sold provides a source of income. The process is however tedious and people must work in groups.
- Making brooms; coconut leaves have very thick sticks ideal for making brooms. Simply assemble the sticks and tie using a thread to form a broom.
All the parts of the coconut tree (the fruit, leaves, trunk, roots and more) have many uses. The fruits are exotics and edible and as such provide a good source of nutritious food. Other parts also have different medicinal and commercial uses making coconut tree one of the most useful trees of the tropics.
By: Joni Kim