Coconut Tree: The Tree of Life

Why is a coconut tree called “The Tree of Life”? Let’s all find out together.

The Coconut Tree is known to have many uses, from its roots to tips (leaves), from culinary to non-culinary. In the Philippines, the coconut tree is considered as the “Tree of Life”.

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You must be wondering, why is that so? Allow me to cite the different parts of the coconut tree and its corresponding benefits and/or uses. Let’s start with…

  1. Coconut Roots

    Coconut roots are used as beverage, dye, mouthwash, and medicine for dysentery (formerly known as flux or the bloody flux). A frayed-out piece of root can also be used as a toothbrush.

  2. Coconut Trunks

    Coconut trunks, its hardy and durable wood is used for building small bridges, preferred for their straightness, strength and salt resistance. It is also used to make benches, tables, carvings, picutre frames, tables, tool boxes and construction materials, among others. Paper pulp can also be extracted from the coconut trunk and other woody parts of the tree.

  3. Coconut Branches

    Coconut branches (leaf petioles) are strong and flexible enough to make a switch (a flexible rod, typically used for corporal punishment).

  4. Coconut Leaves

  5. Coconut leaves can be woven to create effective roofing materials, or reed mats. It can also produce good quality paper pulp, midrib brooms, hats and mats, fruit trays, waste baskets, fans, beautiful midrib decors, lamp shades, placemats, and bags. The stiff leaflet midribs can also be used to make cooking skewers and kindling arrows. Dried coconut leaves can be burned to ash, which can be harvested for lime.

  6. Coconut Fruit

    Coconut fruit produces buko, often used for salads, halo-halo (crushed ice with sweetened fruit), sweets and pastries. The “sport fruit” of the coconut known as makapuno is primarily harvested in the Philippines. They are sold in jars as “gelatinous mutant coconut” cut into balls or strands. Considered a delightful delicacy and largely used for making preserves and ice-cream. It is possible for it not to be kept in storage and still, will not germinate.

  7. Coconut Meat

    Coconut meat is the thick white, fleshy substance found inside the coconut shell. It is edible and can be used fresh or dried in cooking. It can also be used to obtain coco flour, desiccated coconut, coconut milk, coconut chips, coconut candies, bukayo or local sweetened shredded coconut meat, latik copra and even, animal feeds.

  8. Coconut Water

    Coconut water provides an isotonic electrolyte balance, and is a highly nutritious food source. Uses of coconut water include: coconut water vinegar; coconut wine; production of the chewy, fiber-rich “nata”, good as a dessert and as a laxative; as a growth factor; and as a substitute for dextrose. It is also used to cure renal disorders. “Bukolysis” is the medical process of reducing or dissolving urinary stones from the urinary tract, using buko water from 7 to 9 months old coconuts. If you heard of “water therapy”, there is also such thing as “buko/coconut therapy”.

  9. Coconut Milk

    Coconut milk is made by processing grated coconut with hot water or milk, which extracts the oil and aromatic compounds. It should not be confused with the coconut water mentioned above, and has a fat content of approximately 17%. When refrigerated and left to set, coconut cream will rise to the top and separate out the milk. The milk is used to produce virgin coconut oil. It is a common ingredient in many tropical cuisines. In Thailand, coconut milk is the base of most Thai curries.

  10. Coconut Oil

    Copra is the dried coconut meat and, after further processing, is a source of high coconut oil content (as much as 64%). Coconut oil is the most readily digested, of all the fats, generally used in the world. Its chief competitors are soya bean oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil. It can be rapidly processed and extracted as a fully organic product from fresh coconut flesh, and used in many ways including as a medicine and in cosmetics, or as a direct replacement for diesel fuel. Virgin coconut oil is found superior to the oil extracted from copra for cosmetic purposes.

  11. (Coconut) Apical Bud

    Apical buds of adult plants are edible and are known as “palm-cabbage” or heart-of-palm. In the Philippines, it is known as ubod and considered one of the finest vegetables. It is considered a rare delicacy, as the act of harvesting the bud, could kill the palm. It can be served in many appetizing ways. Cubed in fairly large bits, makes a wonderful addition to Spanish rice, or in their long strips, to Arroz a la Cubana. It is also eaten in salads (mixed with mayonnaise or thousand island dressing), known as “Millionaire’s Salad”.

  12. Coconut Infloresence

    Out of the bud of the coconut tree’s infloresence is a fermented juice called coconut toddy or, in the Philippines, tuba. The principal uses of the toddy are: as fresh beverage; for producing alcoholic beverages; for producing vinegar; for making sugar; and as a source of yeast for making bread.

  13. Coconut Husk

    Coconut husks are made of bristle fiber (10%), mattress fiber (20%) and coir dust and shorts or wastes (70%). Coir is used in ropes, mats, brushes, caulking boats and as stuffing fibre; it is also used extensively in horticulture for making potting compost. The husk can be used for fuel and are a good source of charcoal. Dried half coconut shells with husks are used to buff wooden floors, making it clean and shiny (free from dusts). In the Philippines, it is known as “bunot”. Fresh inner coconut husk can be rubbed on the lens of snorkelling goggles to prevent fogging during use.

  14. Coconut Shell

    Coconut shell produces the core of the most saleable household products and fashion accessories that can be turned into lucrative, wide-selling cottage industries. In the Philippines, dried half shells are used as musical instrument in a folk dance called “Maglalatik”, a traditional dance about conflicts for coconut meat within the Spanish era. They are also used in theatres, banged together to create the sound effect of a horses’ hoofbeats. Half coconut shells may be deployed as an improvised bra, especially for comedic effect or theatrical purposes. Shirt buttons can be carved out of dried coconut shell. Coconut buttons are often used for Hawaiian Aloha shirts.

You see how amazing the coconut tree is? In fact, in the Philippines, it is considered as one of the major dollar earner industry that provides livelihood to most of the country’s population. Indeed, a Tree of Life!

And did you know that in World War II, coastwatcher scout Biuki Gasa was the first of two from the Solomon Islands to reach the shipwrecked, wounded, and exhausted crew of Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 commanded by then, the future U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Gasa suggested, for lack of paper, delivering by dugout canoe, a message inscribed on a husked coconut shell. This coconut shell was later kept on the President’s desk, and is now, in the John F. Kennedy Library.

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  1. This is inevitable, so I am writing it. Coming from the only other place where all these uses of coconut are being utilized, I can’t but say this. Kerala, a small state in the south of India is famous for exploiting coconut its maximum. To an extent that causes much ridicule from other states. We use coconut for every purpose stated above and more. the apical buds are also used in Ayurvedic medicines another specialty of Kerala.The alcoholic drink is called ‘Kallu’. The oil is used for cooking as well as a hair oil. And yes it is known as Kalpavriksha (Divine Tree). Nice to see such a parallel

  2. Hello viju,

    It’s nice of you to drop by. :D Thank you…

    I’m just curious, how come it causes much ridicule? I just can’t imagine any reason.

  3. can someone tell the difference between coconut and tendor coconut?

    and also between husk and shell?

  4. Hello Karan,

    I actually haven’t heard of tendor coconut, but based on my researches, I believe they meant it as the young coconut or the “buko” (anybody can correct me if I’m wrong). As for the coconut, its the general term. They mean the same thing.

    On the other hand, the difference between husk and shell is that, the husk is obtained by cutting the coconut into half and taking the coconut meat out (see the particular image on the lower right corner of the whole illustration above — minus the white part). The shell is the container of both the coconut meat and juice (see particular image on the upper left corner of the whole illustration). It is free of the thick, hairy part the coconut has.

    Hope I was able to enlighten you. Thanks! :D

    P.S. Everybody is welcome to add up on the information.

  5. why there is no coconut fiber??

  6. Can anybody tell me what disease can destroy the whole tree leaving only the dead trunk. I,m tryin to help commuties with this problem find a way to deal with this positively

  7. Hello Trevor,

    I think I’ve heard that in some local news and it was really devastating — the killing of coconut trees, even the young ones.

    I can refer a few links which might help you enlighten about this.

    Here is what I see the most closest to what you’re looking for…

    Philippine Coconut Leaf Beetle featured on The Correspondents
    (http://www.alternat1ve.com/biofuel/2007/10/31/philippine-coconut-leaf-beetle-featured-on-the-correspondents/)

    Other links that might be of help includes the following:

    Coconut industry threatened by Lethal Yellowing (http://www.ippmedia.com/ipp/guardian/2008/09/02/121735.html)

    RED PALM WEEVIL IS ATTACKING PALMS IN PORTUGAL
    (http://www.portugalholidaydestinations.co.uk/villas/2008/05/portugal_palms_at_risk_from_pl.shtml)

  8. hey! is there any diseases that the coconut trees produce. i really don’t know much coconut. why that they called the coconut tree, the tree of life? wait is there any virus in my computer.
    make that two times.

  9. hey!why is the coconut tree called the tree of life?

  10. the coconut is great 4 you & 4 me

  11. I find the article very interesting!

  12. what are the components of coconut buds????

  13. It helps me alot in my schoolwork.

    Thanks for your help.

    I will visit this website again sometime.

  14. hello there the angel from my nightmare.

    for me the coconut tree is an angel.

    it gives us our needs.

  15. Good info but qs is how coconut trees got at beach?

  16. @migs: that is really flattering to hear. thank you.

    @arnie: haven’t research about that yet, but i’ll try looking for that.

    @ASMA: hmm… that is a good question. according to what i’ve heard, coconuts grow mostly on beaches because their seeds travel by the sea and end up at beaches across the world where they pop and grow.

  17. yo dudes, calm down. peace be with coconut trees, they are cool.

    (:

  18. This has injured me, a 54 year old man who has dedicated most of his life to the beauty and wonder of the coconut tree.

    I bid you good day.

    And even though I have never had a relationship that lasted longer than a – well, I’ve never had a relationship, I like to think that I am married to the coconut tree.

    We have a caring relationship.

  19. wow amazing…it really helps to my niece project..thank you..keep up the good work..

  20. it really is what i needed for my homework and i got additional points cause of this website!!!
    May god bless this website and the creators…
    thank you! very much!!
    thank you ,thank you, thank you!!!

  21. coconut tree is so amazing

  22. coconut tree is a very useful tree like none other tree. it is the most usefull and very beautifull tree. it is one of the amazing tree created by God.

  23. It was really usefull for my project. i thank this website creator.

  24. Wow, very versatile tree and fruit. Great work.

  25. I LOVE COCUNUTS

  26. thanks people. this helped me for my daughter’s school assignment. hehe.
    just copied the whole article! :)

  27. thanks everyone for dropping by and for your good words! :)

    @richard: i’m really pleased that my article have helped your daughter’s school assignment. no amount of words can really express my joy knowing that this simple article have imparted knowledge for the majority. :)

    thank you all!

  28. Coconut Branches
    Coconut branches (leaf petioles) are getin dry and itas folded towords the steam please same body help me what to do

    My e-mail is kvasu@nal.res.in

  29. YO DIS IS WELL COOL.

    IT WELL HELPED ME WITH MY HOMEWORK.

    MAN, YOU ROCK.

  30. Helped with my daughter’s project . Thx .

  31. Amazing! It is very informative…

  32. yep coconut tree is really productive

    (:

  33. Hello,
    I have a little coconut farm in Bahia Brasil. I’m looking for organic solution to get rid of bugs and ants on the trees.
    We fertilize the trees and clean them but the bugs come and we think they are no good . Anyone with idea on a natural pesticide that will repel these pests ?

  34. A few comments
    1. The yellowing disease a: very deadly pest of coconuts is a virus infection called Kadang-kadang. The multicolored beetle
    a little bigger than a grain of rice is just as destructive but can be controlled by insecticide.Other problems are controlled by
    proper farming techniques.
    2. Tender coconuts are buko or immature or young fruits,the color of the husk is green heavy and easily cut with a machete.The meat is thin and soft, can be scooped by a spoon.
    Mature coconuts have hard, brown husk,light,they float.carried by ocean currents and grow on beaches where they land.. The meat is tough, and oily.The shell 4-5mm thick under the husk is very hard. .when partially burned the charcoal is ground up into filtering material for water and gas masks.
    3.It is called “TREE OF LIFE” By the Filipinos because of the utilitarian nature of just about every part of it. If you get marrooned in a deserted island with nothing but a few coconuts,
    you will know what it means.

  35. Tender Coconut contains only very sweet tasty water not fully grown.

    Coconut – Fully grown and has nuts with little water.

  36. Hi! there is this ball of a white crunchy meat that we sometimes find when we open a coconut and i love eating it. what is it?

  37. hello arlene,

    yes, i also love eating them! according to what i’ve researched, they’re commonly called coconut “apple” or “pearl” and they’re usually found in very mature coconut fruit.

    Sometimes you might find a mature nut beginning to sprout. There will be little or no liquid in the nut and the flesh might not be edible, but the large mushroom-like haustorium or coconut \’apple\’ is edible. It can be eaten raw and is considered a delicacy. It is light and crisp in texture with a tangy almost sweet taste. It can also be sliced and sauteed lightly in organic coconut oil.

    scientifically, they’re termed as “haustorium”. you can check the info under the subtitle ‘Types of Palm Seed Germination’ in this link: http://www.palmseeds.kansaspalms.com/

    you can also verify the image here: http://www.pearls.com/news2/pp21/images/cocopr3b.jpg

    hope it helps! :)

  38. i think the answer of coconut tree is correct

  39. this is a great uses so i have 100% in my project!

  40. There is quite a difference between the tender coconut and the mature coconut. For one, the texture of the tender coconut is very soft, less fibrous, and easy on the palate and the stomach, and the coconut water makes an excellent and refreshing drink. The mature coconut on the hand is comparatively hard, fibrous, has more oil content and is used mostly in curries, and sweetmeats of Kerala.
    The husk is the fibrous outer covering of the coconut, between 5 to 10 centimeters thick; which covers a hard shell, about 3 to 4 millimeters thick on which the pulp of the coconut is attached.

  41. thanks! dis website helped me to have my discussion in school tomorrow.

  42. is the coconut a fruit or a nut? if someone is allergic to nuts can they eat coconuts?

  43. Anyone heard about this song?… You can probably check it in Youtube if it’s available…

    Song Title: Da Coconut Nut
    Lyrics: Ryan Cayabyab
    Artist: Smokey Mountain

    The coconut nut is a giant nut
    If you eat too much, you’ll get very fat
    Now, the coconut nut is a big, big nut
    But its delicious nut is not a nut

    It’s the coco fruit (it’s the coco fruit)
    Of the coco tree (of the coco tree)
    From the coco palm family

    There are so many uses of the coconut tree
    You can build a big house for the family
    All you need is to find a coconut man
    If he catch the tree, he gets the fruit free

    The coconut bark for the kitchen floor
    If you save some of it, you can build the door
    Now, the coconut trunk, do not throw this junk
    If you save some of it, you’ll have a second floor

    The coconut wood is very good
    It can stand 20 years if you create (?) wood
    Now, the coconut fruit, to tell you the truth
    You can probe it or use it as firewood

    The coconut leaves could shade it gives
    For the roof, for the walls up against the eaves
    Now, the coconut fruit, say my relatives
    Make good cannonballs up against the eaves

    Olé!

  44. @ karen mae, lyka and banny: thank you very much guys! good to hear this article has helped you. ;)

    @kenny: thank you very much for that information! :)

    @Mary: hmm… your question really intrigued me to the peak! :) in fact, i never though to question the “gender” of coconut until now. anyways, 4 out of 5 said that COCONUT IS A FRUIT.

    1. Technically speaking, botanists classify the coconut as a drupe, not a nut. A drupe is a kind of fruit composed of an outer, middle and inner layer.

    2. The coconut is also a drupe, but the mesocarp is fibrous or dry (in this case, called a husk), so this type of fruit is classified as a simple dry fruit, fibrous drupe. Unlike other drupes, the coconut seed is unlikely to be dispersed by being swallowed by fauna, due to its large size. It can, however, float extremely long distances across oceans.

    3. Now, when I read the information in another record I find that the whole coconut including the outer coir fiber coating is a “fruit”. The coir fiber (which is removed where the coconuts grow before being shipped to our shops) is the ovary wall.

    4. Although the name suggests that a coconut is a nut, it is in fact botanically classified as a fruit. Specifically, a coconut is a drupe, a kind of fruit which is characterized by a fleshy outer layer and the fact that it develops from the ovary wall of a flower. Some other examples of drupes include nectarines, pistachios, almonds, and mangoes. The evolutionary advantage for drupes is that their fleshy outer layers attract animals, ensuring that they will be widely distributed along with a little natural fertilizer in the form of animal dung. In fact, some drupes are specifically designed to go through the intestinal tracts of animals.

    I really enjoyed the searches. It just confirmed what I learned a long time ago (way back as a child) that indeed, coconut is a fruit.

    Thank you Mary for that interesting question! :)

    P.S. Am sorry I wasn’t able to indicate the source sites. I’m having a hard time with this form. Always getting an error. It seem that there’s a conflict with the URLs.

  45. why coconut is like ahuman but caanot move and the lord is have abig idea for htis reason

  46. tnx 4 dis website..i can easily finish my research paper bcoz of dis..

  47. who do you tap a coconut tree?… is it like a maple tree tap by where you insert a metal tap and it drips into a bucket that is hung off the tree

  48. Greet info i think it called the tree of life ’cause we use every part of it for our needs? just guessing but this info got me an A+

  49. I like eating,drinking a coconut

  50. hello, if anyone of you wants to know more about coconut, you may inquire in Philippine Coconut Research & Development Foundation, Inc. (PCRDF), it’s a private institution… and be amazed of their embryo-cultured makapuno.
    +63 2 633 8031
    +63 2 632 9053
    info@pcrdf.org

  51. I bought a painted coconut in Key West recently. When I got home, it was leaking a little juice —- do I need to drill a hole for the liquid to drain out? will it rot if I don’t? or just leave it alone and nature will dry itself?

  52. can someone help me find out the ongoing price to sell a sack of copra or is it by pound? thank you.

  53. i hate this, it is of no use

  54. how big is a coconut tree

  55. @ TS coco: in the Philippines, the on-going price on copra ranges from Php 2,400 to Php 2,550 per 100 kilos (as of june 2010).

  56. hi alllllll
    I am can answer you questions regarding coconut trees.

    I live in Kerala, India, the land of coconuts. The word “kera” means coconut, from which the name Kerala was derived.

    NjOy

  57. i just read all the comments on the phone to my friend she found them interesting and helpful in her life. coconut are great.

  58. hahhhh ela ela mokada kivwa
    yako toga amma innawada sottiyo
    :P :P :P P

  59. sau k nga sau xDD

  60. Wow. I wonder if you could use Coconut Meat for Hair Gel.
    Only one way to find out…

  61. :)

  62. helo:)

  63. haloe?can you be my chatmate

  64. I just want to know what is the specific name, which is looks like a net or a strainer in the upper part of the coconut tree.

  65. I LOVEEEEEEE COCONUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  66. IN MY SCHOOL, THEY HAVE GIVEN A TOPIC: “SPECIFIC ECONOMIC FEATURES AND USES OF COCONUT TREE AND ITS BOTANICAL NAME” IN JUST ONE PARAGRAPH.
    COULD SOMEONE HELP ME ON THIS???

  67. read all the above well, you have the answer

  68. The south pacific islanders call it coconut palm, because it is a palm tree :)

  69. Hi, can someone help me? i\’m trying to find the name of the coconut part which is like a strainer, a netlike past usually found in the upper part of the coconut around the flowers and nuts.

  70. wow…..the coconut tree is very important in our daily lives…thanks….it’s very mportant also to me…..

  71. i dnt lyk it..,,,,

  72. why os no leaves defination

  73. yeah

  74. thank you rhenz,,,you really helped me with my project about coconuts…….

  75. This is an excellent article. Thank you for referring to the young coconut and the flesh as “buko”, our Filipino name for it.

    To make coconut milk, which is called “gata”, we just add some water to grated coconut and squeeze. One coconut will give about 2 cups of gata. The first squeeze is thick and creamy. After the first squeeze, one can add more water and squeeze more juice, but it will not be as creamy. The more desirable milk from the first squeeze is called “kakang gata”.

    Interestingly, Filipinos never use desiccated coconut in the way it’s used in the West.

  76. I LIKE IT BECAUSE IT HELP MY ASSIGNMENT ABOUT ITS USES I REALLY LIKE IT THANK YOU

  77. Is there a coconut flower?

  78. without this tree i can not provide my family their needs and wants, please plant coconut tree……

  79. i am jorick i like it because its make my thesis complete but its hard to say that the books containing this is limited

  80. i am a American Samoan girl i love how the coconut tree grows in my life and in my culture because this was one main thing that help to feed me from infancy no food we always look back to the coconut tree so if anybody says that it is not nice well think about it these are the main things that God brought in this earth for us to look at or eat if no food> daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa thanks to this website we all appreciate

  81. Hi, I’m Nordiana, can you help me to my term paper? view me an example outline on this topic “Coconut:Tree of Life. Thank you.

  82. YES! ATLAST I HAVE AN ANSWER TO MY ASSIGNMENT…THANK YOU VERY MUCH :) IT HELPS A LOT…

  83. the coconut is so cool we can live only with coconut Is\’nt ?

  84. mahalaga ito dahil ito ay maraming pwedeng paggamitan.

  85. coconut is used for coocking

  86. web page friends of the third world

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