The coconut tree is one of the boons that have been bestowed by the nature on mankind. Coconut tree has been used for ages by humans for several purposes. It has provided humans the basic needs of life such as food, oil, milk, and water. The tree has also given a lot of other things such as coir which play such a significant role in the daily lives of human beings.
The coconut tree is one of the most important crops of tropical regions. It thrives in the area with a higher percentage of humidity; it generally needs a humidity of more than 60% for proper survival and proper capacity for bearing of fruit. It also needs a warmer temperature for its proper growth; it is not resistant to cold weather. A temperature of less than 5 Degree Celsius may prove to be fatal for the coconut tree.
In India, coconut tree is found in abundance in the coastal areas of Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. Coconut tree is the symbol of the beauty of the beaches of these coastal areas. It is also one of the significant means of livelihood of the people living in these coastal areas.
Coconut Tree – Scientific Description
The coconut tree belongs to the Arecaceae Family, Cocos Genus, and Cocos nucifera species. It is the only surviving species of this genus.
It is a tree with a long slim trunk which can generally grow to a height of around 25 meters i.e. 80 feet.
Its fruits are generally ovoidal or elliptical in shape and have a radius of around 15 to 25 cm i.e. 6 to 10 inches.
The coconut meat has a high content of fat generally around 33 percent and also a moderate amount of carbohydrates around 15 percent. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Coconut water is considered a very good source of hydration. It is around 95 percent water with 4 percent carbohydrates. It provides around 19 kcal per hundred gram.
Coconut oil contains healthy fatty acids and it is also considered to have antimicrobial properties.
How To Grow A Coconut Tree At Home
As we have stated earlier in this article, the coconut tree grows naturally in tropical areas with high humidity and warmer climates. But that does not mean that it cannot be grown at your home. We all know that the coconut tree adds to the beauty of any place. So, if you are planning to plant a coconut tree in your house, be sure to check the following steps -:
1. Selection – Select a healthy fruit before proceeding further, a proper fruit will have an ample amount of water inside it and you can check the same by hearing the sound of the water by shaking the coconut.
2. Soaking – Take this coconut and remove all the coir (fiber around the coconut) from the coconut, except for the bunch of coir around the top. Now soak it for a period of at least 24 hours. You may use lukewarm water to aid at the start of the germination process.
3. Wrapping – Now take the fruit and wrap it with the help of a cotton cloth all around it. Make sure to properly cover the coconut but leave the area on the top where we left the coir, unwrapped.
4. Placement – Keep this wrapped coconut on top of a vessel filled with water, make sure that the bottom of the cotton cloth is in touch with water. Keep it in a partially shaded area. Remember, monsoon is the best time to grow coconut trees at home because at this time temperature is around 25 to 35 degrees and also the climate is humid.
5. Germination – Check the wrapped coconut after 15 days and you will see that a green shoot has started sprouting from the top and the roots have started developing around the coconut. Now wrap the coconut again and wait for some more weeks. The seed shall be considered ready for planting when the shoot develops to a length of 3 inches and roots develop to around 6 to 8 inches.
6. Planting – Prepare the soil for planting the seed you have developed. Mix the soil with sand so that it remains properly aerated, you may also add some amount of compost. Now carefully plant the seed in the soil or the pot as per your requirement, keep the shoot open on the top.
7. Watering – Regularly water the seed at least twice a week and also maintain proper sun exposure. You will notice that within two to three weeks the shoot will grow in length and it will start producing leaves.
The coconut tree may take up to 5 years to fully mature and to start producing fruit. The tree after maturing can give fruits for more than 70 years.
Coconut holds a very special place in the Hindu culture, it is considered very auspicious and sacred. No puja is considered complete in Hindu traditions without the coconut. Coconut is used with the Kalash (utensil on which coconut is placed) for worshipping of Hindu deities.
In India, it is considered that an event, which is started with the breaking of coconut on the floor, shall become successful. This is the reason that almost all festivals, auspicious ceremonies, inaugurations are started with the breaking of coconut on the floor.
It is believed that coconut is a welcoming gesture for Goddes Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth as per Hindu mythology. The flesh as well as water, both are considered very sacred. The water is offered to the feet of deities and the flesh is distributed to the people as “Prasad”.
Coconut is also known as “Shreephal” where “Shri” refers to Goddess Lakshmi and “Phal” refers to Fruit. It is also associated with Lord Shiva, as in Hindu mythology he is believed to have three eyes and there are also three resembling dots on the shell of the coconut.
Benefits of Coconut Tree
A coconut tree has several benefits; almost each and every part of the coconut tree is useful for human beings. Some of these benefits are listed below -:
1. The most used product obtained from the coconut tree is coconut oil, which is extracted from the copra (dried coconut meat). This oil is used in many parts of India for cooking and frying. It is also used as hair oil and is considered very good for the growth of hair. It is also used as a moisturizer for skin especially during the winter season in India.
2. Dried kernel of the coconut known as copra is used in many desserts and sweets in India. It can be stored for a long period of time and can be used as and when required.
3. Coconut water is helpful in combating dehydration and it is also a source of many vital nutrients. It is used as a refreshing drink throughout India, especially in summer.
4. Coir, the fiber from the husk from coconut is used for making many items such as door mats, ropes, brushes, scrubbers, bags etc.
5. Coconut butter made from the coconut milk is also used for consumption.
6. Coconut leaves are used for thatching of houses and also with the sticks they are used as brooms for cleaning purposes.
7. The coconut trunk is used for making many structures such as huts, small bridges. It is also used for making furniture items especially in the southern part of India.