James W. Perry jperry at UWC.EDU
Thu Aug 12 11:12:20 EST 1999

I will be glad to stand corrected if a source is cited, but I have to 
disagree with Steve about his analysis of the structure of a coconut. The 
"meat" that we eat is not the cotyledon to my knowledge, but rather the 
solid endosperm. The "milk" is the liquid endosperm, as others have pointed 
out. Please see p. 91 of Photo Atlas for Botany, Perry and Morton, 1998 
(Wadsworth Publishers).

I have seen the embryo in the fruit. It was very small, and located at one 
of the "eyes" the stony endocarp. The specimen came from a grocery store. 
While I cut open many coconuts for class over the years, I only saw it once.


Steve Hinkson wrote:

 >The endosperm in a coconut is a semisolid when the nut is ripe.  The edible
 >at the store are picked very green to allow a long shelf life.  The "meat"
 >that we
 >shred is the enlarged cotyledon.
 >I wasn't trying to imply that the endosperm wasn't supposed to be there, but
 >if it sounded like water inside, it was a sign that the nut was unripe.
 >You were fortunate that your store seed ripened enough to germinate.
 >the "green" seeds
 >rot rather than mature.

James. W. Perry, CEO/Campus Dean
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
University of Wisconsin - Fox Valley
1478 Midway Road, P.O. Box 8002
Menasha, Wisconsin 54952-9002
Office: 920.832.2610
FAX: 920.832.2674
jperry at

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