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(family Arecaceae)

A monotypic genus, C. nucifera, the coconut (‘nature's greatest gift to man’) which grows wild on sandy coasts from the east coast of Africa to Polynesia, and also in the Caribbean. It is very widely cultivated from 20°N to 20°S. It has a solitary stem, and leaves with many leaflets. The fruit is a nut with a fibrous mesocarp (the source of coir fibre) and stony endocarp (see pericarp) (the source of a fine medicinal charcoal), lined by endosperm (the source of copra).

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