The seeds of coconut palms survive long sea voyages because they are enclosed in nutrient-rich, water-filled protective shells.

“Some trees send their seeds, not by air, but by sea. The most famous of all is the coconut palm. It dispatches its seed inside a hard shell that contains everything needed for a long voyage. Inside there is a supply of rich food, the so-called meat, and a half-a-pint or so of water. On the outside, it is fitted with a fibre float that keeps it on the surface of the water. This survival package serves it so well that coconut palms have colonised beaches throughout the tropics.” (Attenborough 1995:21)

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Floating coconut

Longitudinal section of Cocos nucifera fruit, showing endosperm

Last Updated September 14, 2016