Accompanying those addicted to gambling
July 14, 2020
Strengthen males for the domestic Church
July 14, 2020

The many uses of cocos genus

The coconut palm and some of its most basic by-products have been serving Caribbean societies for as long as we can remember.

The coconut is a monocotyledonous (single-seeded) plant of the Acrecaceae family, belonging to the cocos genus.

While the debate of whether coconuts are to be classified as fibrous, single-seeded drupes (a type of fruit) or simply a nut or a seed is ongoing, one thing is for certain, coconuts have many varieties and are multifunctional.

With over 400 varieties, coconuts can be categorised into ‘tall varieties’ (life span of 80–90 years), Dwarf Varieties (life span of 40–50 years) and most recently, ‘hybrid varieties.

Climates with consistent rainfall and an abundance of sunlight encourage the most ideal performance of this plant. You can find this versatile palm growing along tropical and subtropical coasts under differing soil conditions at times.

This plant grows best in free-draining soil with proper water holding capabilities. Soils such as saline, coastal sands or red loamy soil work well. Seed dispersal of coconuts influence how they grow.

Fallen coconuts are carried across the sea and dispersed upon the shores where they can become a new palm tree. With enough rainfall and sunlight, and not much human attendance, a partially buried, dried coconut, will produce a sprout and tap root.

After about 4–6 years, it will grow mature enough to produce flowers.

Once the coconut palm reaches this point of maturity, both male and female flowers develop.

With pollination, the female flowers will gradually develop into the full-sized coconuts. Most coconut varieties exhibit ripeness with a green, slightly yellow outer shell.

Including coconut into your diet has countless advantages. The coconut meat (jelly) is rich in protein, essential minerals, anti-oxidants and Vitamin Bs. It is high in manganese and iron and helps with healthy bone and blood cell development. Many studies have shown that the low carbohydrate content and high amino acids in coconut oil can help lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

While coconuts are great energy providers, keep in mind they are also high in calories and should be used in moderation.

Coconuts can be used as a healthier substitute for sugar, flour and other foods once processed appropriately, or even to craft furniture and utensils, depending on which part of the plant is utilised.

For example, the traditional ‘cocoyea’ broom and kitchen tools such as bowls and spoons have been in use in Caribbean culture for quite some time. A few more products that can be derived from coconuts are coconut milk, oil, butter, and desiccated coconut.

Coconut oil promotes healthy hair growth and other cosmetic benefits. This is one by-product that you can easily make at home by following these steps:

  • Split a mature, brown coconut with a hammer or cleaver.
  • Scrape the flesh out of the shell using a knife or a sturdy spoon.
  • Cut the extracted meat into small pieces.
  • Shred finely with a blender using a little water.
  • Separate the pulp from the liquid by filtering the milk with sieve or over a jar.
  • Squeeze the pulp firmly until all the milk is drained.
  • Leave the jar unattended for 24 hours. During this time, you will notice the milk and oil will separate and a layer of curd will appear on top of the jar.
  • Refrigerate the jar with the suspension so that the curd hardens.
  • Scoop the curd out with a spoon and discard.
  • Your virgin coconut oil is left in the jar.

Send questions to