We’ve been learning stuff about the coconut tree. From Bob and Mina. This tree really is an all rounder providing materials for shelter, fire, food and comfort. Incidentally, they look good in photographs too. If you grew up close to Scotland in the UK, let me tell you, the coconut tree is pretty darned exotic.
I’d always wondered why coconut trees grow at such bizarre angles. Well apparently they have enormous root systems. The roots will hold up trunks that point out almost horizontally. If a tree ‘falls’, the root system is never dislodged. Instead, the tree will snap somewhere on its trunk.
Nothing else grows around them. They spread out their roots, claiming all the water in the earth so the bulbous bit at the bottom of the tree is ram jammed with liquid. Making them very heavy too.
The wood is hard and good for making things and the fronds can be used as roofing materials as well as being woven to produce baskets, place mats and floor coverings.
The coconut itself goes through several phases …. When young, I understand this to be when they are green, they are filled with water. Flatten the bottom so the nut will stand on a surface without rolling away, hack the top off to create a drinking hole and voila, you have your glass and drink in one. Adding rum apparently can enhance the taste. Umbrellas are optional. No plastic of course.
Having drunk the liquid, the nut can be cut in two to reveal the meat. In a young nut, the flesh is soft and moist, bright white, quite thin and comes away easily when scrapped with a spoon. The older the nut, the thicker the meat requiring a heartier spoon action and the taste is stronger. Young is better in my book. I’m assuming the liquid and the flesh are mixed together to make coconut milk which we buy in cans. And added to oils and potions to create suntan cream, shampoo and associated products.
As the nut gets older, the inside changes so there’s no liquid but a solid-ish candy floss type substance inside. This is called copra and is used to feed chickens, dogs and hermit crabs.
Dried nuts burn really well and of course dried shells provide excellent sound effects for horse clippety clopping. The Knights that say Nee being a prime example.
There endeth my coconut tree information broadcast.