• Meggie Savy

The Heaviest Nut!

The most renowned feature of the coco de mer is its enormous fruit which is the largest in the plant world. The fruit takes between 6 to 10 years to mature and is generally two-lobed but may have four or even six lobes. It typically reaches a size of 40–50 cm in diameter.

The fruit of the coco de mer typically weighs between 15 to 30 kg. The largest fruit recorded weighed 42 kg making it the world’s heaviest nut. The seeds need two years to germinate, and the plant must grow 20–40 years to start flowering. When the husk is removed the seed resembles the shapely form of a woman's buttocks.

In mature trees, the leaf blades can measure up to 6 metres long and 3.5 metres wide. Withered leaves hang from the palm below the vibrant, healthy green crown.

The coco-de-mer leaves hold remarkable lifespan of over 50 years, perhaps the longest lifespan of any leaf in the plant kingdom.

The leaves have an interesting design – it is formed into a gigantic funnel. This ensures that almost all the rain which falls on them is directly channelled to the base of the trunk, while organic matter on the leaf surface such as pollen and nutrient-rich animal or reptile faeces gets flushed to the bottom of the tree along with the water.

Unlike other Seychelles palms, the male and female flowers of the coco de mer are borne on separate trees. The male flowers look like catkins and can measure up to 1 metre long, making them the longest male flowers in the world.

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