Coconut, with the Latin name Cocos nucifera, is the sole member of the Cocos family of the Arecaceae tribe. The meaning of coconut can refer to the whole coconut tree, seeds, or fruit, which botanically is a fruiting tree, not a nut tree. The term comes from the 16th century Portuguese and Spanish words, coco meaning “head” or “skull” after the three indentations in the coconut shell that resemble facial features. This plant is used almost all of its parts by humans so it is considered a versatile plant, especially for coastal communities. Coconut is also the name for the fruit produced by this plant.
Coconut is known for its diverse uses, from food to cosmetics. The inner flesh of the ripe seed forms a regular source of food for many people in the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts differ from other fruits in that their endosperm contains a large amount of clear liquid, called “coconut milk” in the literature, and when unripe, can be harvested to drink as “coconut water”, or also called “coconut juice”.
This plant is thought to have originated from the coast of the Indian Ocean on the Asian side, but has now spread widely throughout the tropical coast of the world.