Sunday, September 11, 2011

Crazy Plants: Coco de Mer

A Coco de Mer (Lodoicea maldivica) at a botanical garden in Sri Lanka
A single seed of this palm
 The Coco de Mer is the producer of the world's largest seed that can weigh as much as thirty kilograms. The name "coco de mer" means "coconut of the sea" and comes from the fact that sailors would find them and thought they had come from a sea plant. On top of that, they also have the world's longest leaves (ten meters maximum) and can grow to be thirty-four meters in height. It is a rainforest plant, and is found on islands such as the Seychelles. It takes twenty-five years before one of these plants can produce fruit, and each fruit takes seven years to reach its full size.

Histornally, the seeds of the Coco de Mer have been used to make such things as bowls. Unfortunately, the seeds are often collected by those who are fascinated by them in such high numbers that few to no new plants have been sprouting. Fires have also been an issue. The Coco de Mer is a Vulnerable species. Efforts are being made to protect this unusual palm.

Source is ARKive. Images are from Wikimedia Commons and are copyright free: one, two

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