Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


Flowers &
Indoor Plants

Fruits & Nuts



Special Topics



Cornell University

Cocus nucifera
(co-cos new-ci-fer-ah)

coconut coconut coconut coconut
Click on thumbnails for larger image.

What about it?

The familiar coconut palm is almost everywhere a symbol of the Tropics. Both green and ripe fruits are available the year around, for the coconut palm bears fruit continuously.

What is it used for?

Perhaps one of the coconut's greatest worldwide uses is as a source of the cooking oil extracted from the ripe meat. But coconut can be grated for soups and puddings, desserts and candies, or just eaten fresh.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

The coconut is common in the Tropics. Coconuts must be propagated from seed. Plants need full sun and a nearby water supply. Trees are planted 25 -35 feet apart Fruits are produced for 60-70 years.

What are Its primary problems?

Coconut black beetles, palm weevils, and leaf eating beetles will cause the most damage. Coconuts can get bud disease, lethal bole rot, and lethal yellowing.

How do we harvest and store it?

It will take about 6 years before the tree produces fruit. The plant reached maximum productivity in another 5-10 years. Ripe coconuts are picked 11 or 12 months after flowering.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.