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4 amazing things you should know about the Seychelles' coco de mer

Victoria, Seychelles | May 10, 2018, Thursday @ 10:59 in Entertainment » SEYCHELLES BUZZ | By: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3895
4 amazing things you should know about the Seychelles' coco de mer

(Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board)

Photo license  

(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles’ coco de mer is the stuff of legend. It is one of the many wonders of the island nation and considered as a giant in the plant kingdom.

The coco de mer grows naturally only on two of Seychelles’ islands. On Praslin, the second most populated island, in the Vallee de Mai special reserve which is also one of the island nation's UNESCO World Heritage sites, and on Curieuse, located very close to Praslin.

SNA looks at 4 botanical records of the coco de mer.

 

World’s biggest 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.  

(Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BYPhoto License: CC-BY

 

World’s heaviest nut

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.

(Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY

 

World’s longest leaves of any flowering plant

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. 

(The Last Resort, Flikr) Photo License: CC BY 2.0

 

The world's longest male flower

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. 

(Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY
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