coconuts

Herman Meekes hmeekes at BIOSCI.MBP.MISSOURI.EDU
Mon Feb 13 11:03:37 EST 1995


>Could anyone tell me if a coconut is a drupe or a berry, botanically
>speaking?  My colleagues are in disagreement over this.  An explanation
>would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Hello Ann,

Although I do not implicate that I have the ultimate judgement of
terminology, I think that coconuts are drupes. Berries have multiple seeds
freely lying in a more or less fluid tissue. As you may know, the coconut
only has one seed, which is embedded in a layered fruit. The outer fruit
layers are the exocarp, (=the thin outer sheet of the coconut fruit) and
the fibrous mesocarp (used sometimes for making rugs and carpets). The
fruit has a solid (woody) endocarp, which is relevant for drupes. The
actual seed (the coconut itself) consists of a seed coat (the brown film at
the outside of the edible solid cocconut) and different storage tissues,
the solid outer part and a fluid inner part (coconut milk). The seed embryo
(the actual young coconut palm) is located near the three round pores at
one end of the "seed".
What you buy as a whole coconut at the grocery store, mostly is the
endocarp with the seed in it. Generally the exo and mesocarp are not sold.
Sometimes you can see young coconut plants being sold as house plants. They
have germinated from the whole fruit, which is partly emerging from the
soil.

I hope this helps !

Greetings


Herman Meekes
Biological Sciences            ______________       ______________
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