Palm Tree Coconut: The Palm Tree of Life

The palm tree coconut (Cocos nucifera Linn) is the only tree that I know of wherein all of its parts are of valuable use to mankind. “Valuable” is the operative word.

If you could count the stars, then you could count all the ways the coconut serves us.”  This Philippine proverb was born out of reality since time immemorial.

No other tree or plant on the planet serves man like the coconut palm can. It thrives from the Tropic of Cancer north of the equator (23 27’N) to the Tropic of Capricorn south of the Equator (23 27’S). Although coconut palms can grow outside the tropics, they hardly produce mature fruit there.

We Filipinos and other inhabitants in the Pacific islands instinctively call it the “Tree of Life.” In India, they refer to it as “kalpa vriksha,” the tree that provides all the necessities of life. Could it be we’re just exaggerating its usefulness? Well, you be the judge.

By the way, please visit history of coconuts if you’re interested. It’s a good start to getting to know one of God’s gifts to humanity.

Now, allow me to show you why the palm tree coconut is aptly called, the tree of life. Every part of this magnificent large plant has value, from its very roots, all the way up to those 4-6 meter leaves.

A. Mature Nut

  • Meat
  • Oil – cooking, cosmetics, soap, shampoo, medical uses
  • Milk – food preparation, beauty products, medical uses
  • Flour – baking
  • Dietary fiber – heart disease and colon cancer prevention
  • Food/delicacies
  • Animal feeds
  • Water – Vinegar, Wine
  • Shell – Charcoal, Activated carbon, Trinkets, Household items, Handicrafts, Decorations
  • Husk (Fiber, Pith) – Ropes, Coir mattresses, Organic fertilizer, Coir sheets for preventing soil erosion

B. Young Nut

  • Juice – Plant growth hormones/regulators, Kidney stone prevention

C. Inflorescence

  • Sugar, Food items, Alcoholic drinks

D. Spathe

  • Decors, Helmets, Handbags, Handicraft, Fans

E. Leaves

  • Paper pulp, Housing materials, Baskets, Trays

F. Trunk

  • Lumber, Wood products

G. Roots

  • Dye stuff, Twine, Ropes

Nut or fruit? If you’re confused as to the true nature of the coconut, please visit is a coconut a fruit or a nut?

THE Complete Package

Starting when I was very young, my grandmother would remind me of another ancient Filipino proverb that says…

“He who plants a coconut palm plants vessels and clothing, food and drink, a habitation for himself, and a heritage for his children.”

I grew up witnessing the profound contributions of the humble and versatile coconut palm to the betterment of many lives. The palm tree coconut is, without a doubt, the Tree of Life.