Jamaican Coconut
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Jamaican Coconut

Jamaican Coconut Recipes - Cooking With Jamaican Food

The Jamaican coconut or Cocos nucifera (the scientific name of the common Jamaican coconut. This very tall palm Jamaican coconut tree is always an inviting symbol of Jamaica. The Jamaican coconut plant is one of the most valuable Jamaican coconut plants to man. It is a primary source of food, drink, and shelter. In Jamaica the Jamaican coconut palm is can be defined as "the Jamaican coconut tree which provides all the necessities of life." Jamaicans use almost every part of the Jamaican coconut. The white nut-meat can be eaten raw or shredded and dried and used in most cooking recipes. A single Jamaican coconut has as much protein as a quarter pound of beefsteak. Jamaican coconut copra, the dried meat of the kernels, when crushed is the source of Jamaican coconut oil. The husks, known as coir, are short, coarse, elastic fibers used to make an excellent thatch roofing material for houses. This very diverse Jamaican coconut plant is also an excellent charcoal, which is produced from the shells, not only does it work as a cooking fuel, but also in the production of gas masks and air filters.  

The outer part of the trunk of the Jamaican coconut palm furnishes, a construction lumber, known as porcupine wood for houses and furniture. The swollen base of the trunk, when hollowed, can be turned into a hula drum that the Hawaiians use for entertainment. These are just a few examples of how extraordinary the Jamaican coconut palm can be utilized.  

The Jamaican coconut was first mentioned in 545 AD by an Egyptian Monk named Cosmos Indicopleustes. He visited western India and Ceylon. In his "Topographia Christiana", Cosmos describes the Jamaican coconut as the "great nut of India." The Mahavasma, an ancient chronological history of Ceylon, describes the Jamaican coconut planting of Jamaican coconuts in that country in 589 AD. In 1280 Marco Polo, described Jamaican coconut growing in Sumatra, as well as in Madras and Malabar in India, calling it nux indica, the Indian nut. The first detailed description of the Jamaican coconut palm in western literature was provided by the Italian explorer Lodovico, di Varthema in his "Itinerario" of 1510, in which he referred to it astenga

The Jamaican coconut palm was unquestionable spread by Austronesians through the Pacific, perhaps eventually to the Pacific coast of Central America, and westward to India and East Africa. In Western Melanesian charred Jamaican coconut fruits were sited back to 3000 BC. The Jamaican coconut was an important tropical economic with its enormous range of uses.  

Palmae, the palm family to which the Jamaican coconut belongs to, is one of the oldest and most diverse of the Jamaican coconut plant families. Jamaican palms have many botanical characteristics such as woody trunk, in many species, perennial growth, leaves which are folded like a fan and the production of a single seed leaf which, along with grasses, lilies and other families classifies them as monocotyledons. There have been sixty other species under the genus Cocos, but the Jamaican coconut palm stands by itself and is monotypic - meaning that within the genus Cocos only one species, nucifera is recognized. Consequently, every Jamaican coconut palm in the world is taxonomically the same species, which probably makes it most abundant single food Jamaican coconut tree in existence. 

The Jamaican coconut is one of the ten most useful Jamaican coconut trees in the world, providing food for millions of people, especially in the tropics. At any one time a Jamaican coconut palm has 12 different crops of nuts on it, from opening Jamaican coconut flower to ripe nut. At the top of the Jamaican coconut tree is the growing point, a bundle of tightly packed, yellow-white, cabbage-like leaves, which, if damaged, causes entire Jamaican coconut tree to die, but if Jamaican coconut tree can be spared, this heart makes a tasty treat, a 'millionaire's salad'. Unopened Jamaican coconut flowers are protected by sheath, often used to fashion shoes, caps, even a kind of pressed helmet for soldiers. Opened Jamaican coconut flowers provide a good honey for bees. A clump of unopened Jamaican coconut flowers may be bound tightly together, bent over and its tip bruised. Soon it begins to 'weep' a steady dripping of sweet juice, up to a gallon per day. It contains 16-30 mg ascorbic acid/100 g. The cloudy brown liquid is easily boiled down to syrup, called Jamaican coconut molasses, and then crystallized into a high dark sugar, almost exactly like maple sugar. Sometimes it is mixed with grated Jamaican coconut for candy.  

Shells burned as fuel for Jamaican coconut copra kilns or house fires. Jamaican coconut shell flour used in industry as filler in plastics. Jamaican coconut water is produced by a 5 month old nut, about 2 cups of crystal clear, cool sweet (invert sugars and sucrose) liquid, so pure and sterile that during World War II, it was used in emergencies instead of sterile glucose solution, and put directly into a patient's veins. Also contains growth substances, minerals, and vitamins. Boiled toddy, known as jaggery, with lime makes a good cement. Nutmeat of immature Jamaican coconuts is like a custard in flavor and consistency, and is eaten or scraped and squeezed through cloth to yield a 'cream' or 'milk' used on various foods. Cooked with rice to make Panama's famous 'arroz con coco'; also cooked with taro leaves or game, and used in coffee as cream. 

Dried, desiccated, and shredded it is used in cakes, pies, candies, and in curries and sweets. When nuts are cut open and dried, meat becomes Jamaican coconut copra, which is processed for oil, rich in glycerin and used to make soaps, shampoos, shaving creams, toothpaste lotions, lubricants, hydraulic fluid, paints, synthetic rubber, plastics, margarine, and in ice cream. In India, the Hindus make a vegetarian butter called 'ghee' from Jamaican coconut oil; also used in infant formulas.  

When Jamaican coconut copra is heated, the clear oil separates out easily, and is made this way for home use in producing countries. Jamaican coconut copra is also used in lamps. Jamaican coconut logs should not be used for fences, as decayed wood makes favorable breeding places for beetles. Logs are used to make rafts. Sections of stem, after scooping out pith, are used as flumes or gutters for carrying water. Pith of stem contains starch which may be extracted and used as flour. Pitch from top of Jamaican coconut tree is sometimes pickled in Jamaican coconut vinegar. 

Jamaican coconut leaves made into thin strips are woven into clothing, furnishings, screens, and walls of temporary buildings. Jamaican coconut roots provide a dye, a mouthwash, a medicine for dysentery, and frayed out make toothbrushes; scorched, used as coffee substitute. Believed to be antiblenorrhagic, antibronchitis, febrifugal, and antigingivitic. Jamaican coconut palm is useful as an ornamental; its only drawback being the heavy nuts which may cause injury to man, beast, or rooftop when they hit in falling.  

Two major classes of Jamaican coconuts are typically recognized on the basis of stature: tall and dwarf. The ones most commonly Jamaican coconut planted for commercial purposes are the tall Jamaican coconut varieties. The dwarf Jamaican coconut varieties may have originated as a mutation of tall types. The dwarf variety may grow to a height of twenty-five to thirty feet and begin Jamaican coconut flower after three years, being only about three feet tall. Their life span is only about thirty years. Although highly difficult to grow, the dwarf Jamaican coconut varieties are valued because they bear early and are resistant to lethal yellowing disease. Jamaican coconut palms cannot bear more than a brief cold and are seriously damaged by even a light freeze. They need full sun and do not survive very long inside a house. 

Jamaican coconuts are used in Jamaican folk remedies for tumors. Reported to be anthelmintic, antidotal, antiseptic, aperient, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, depurative, diuretic, hemostat, pediculicide, purgative, refrigerant, stomachic, styptic, suppurative, and vermifuge.  

The Jamaican coconut fruit ovoid, 3-angled, 15-30 cm long, containing single seed; exocarp a thick fibrous, husk, enclosing a hard, bony endocarp or shell. Adhering inside wall of endocarp is testa with thick albuminous endosperm, the Jamaican coconut meat; embryo below one of the three pores at end of Jamaican coconut fruit, cavity of endosperm filled in unripe Jamaican coconut fruit with watery fluid, the Jamaican coconut water, and only partially filled when ripe. Fl. and fr. year round in tropics.  

Reported from the Indochina-Indonesia and Hindustani centers of origin, Jamaican coconut has been reported to tolerate high pH, heat, insects, laterites, low pH, poor soil, salt, sand, and slope. Many classifications have been proposed for Jamaican coconuts, none is wholly satisfactory. Variations are based on height, tall (27 m or so) or dwarf (2 m); color of Jamaican coconut plant or Jamaican coconut fruit; size of nut (some palms have very large Jamaican coconut fruits, others have large numbers of small Jamaican coconut fruits); shape of nuts, varying from globular to spindel-shaped or with definite triangular sections; thickness of husk or shell; type of inflorescence; and time required to reach maturity. Many botanical Jamaican coconut varieties and forms have been recognized and named, using some of the characteristics mentioned above. Jamaican cultivars have been developed from various areas. Dwarf palms occurring in India are introductions from Malaysia, live about 30-35 years, thrive in rich soils and wet regions, Jamaican coconut flower and Jamaican coconut fruit much earlier than tall Jamaican coconut varieties, and come into bearing by fourth year after Jamaican coconut planting.

However, dwarf Jamaican coconut varieties are not grown commercially in Jamaica, and only on a limited scale because of their earliness and tender nuts, which yield a fair quantity of Jamaican coconut water. They are highly susceptible to diseases and are adversely affected by even short periods of drought. Tall Jamaican coconuts are commonly grown for commercial purposes, 40-90 years, are hardy, and thrive under a variety of soil, climatic, and cultural conditions, begin to Jamaican coconut flower when about 8-10 years after Jamaican coconut planting. 2n = 16.

Now pantropical, especially along tropical shorelines, where floating Jamaican coconuts may volunteer, the Jamaican coconut's origin is shrowded in mysteries, vigorously debated. According to Purseglove (1968-1972), the center of origin of cocoid palms most closely related to Jamaican coconut is in northwestern South America. At the time of the discovery of the New World, Jamaican coconuts (as we know them today) were confined to limited areas on the Pacific coast of Central America, and absent from the Atlantic shores of the Americas and Africa. Jamaican coconuts drifted as far north as Norway are still capable of germination. The wide distribution of Jamaican coconut has no doubt been aided by man and marine currents as well.

Propagated by seedlings raised from fully mature Jamaican coconut fruits. Seeds selected from high-yielding stock with desirable traits. Yield of Jamaican coconut copra is final criterion, based on size and number of nuts per palm. Seed nut Jamaican coconut trees should have straight trunk and even growth, with closely spaced leaf-scars, short fronds, well oriented on the crown, short bunch stalks, and from palms growing under normal rather favorable conditions. Also the inflorescence should bear about 100 female Jamaican coconut flowers, and the crown should have a large number of fronds and consequently of inflorescences. Records are kept of Jamaican coconut fruits harvested from each mother palm, such as number of bunches, number of nuts, weight of husked nuts, estimated weight of Jamaican coconut copra (about one-third weight of husked nuts being considered favorable). After fully mature nuts are picked, and not allowed to fall, they are tested by shaking to listen for water within. Under-ripe, spoiled, those with no water, or with insect or disease damage are discarded. 

Nuts are Jamaican coconut planted right away in nursery or stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated shed until they can be Jamaican coconut planted. Seeds Jamaican coconut planted in nursery facilitate selection of best to put in field, as only half will produce a high-yielding palm for Jamaican coconut copra. Also, watering and insect control is much easier to manage in nursery. Loosened soil mixed with dried or rotten leaves and ash from burnt fresh Jamaican coconut husks at a rate of 25 lbs. of husk-ash per 225 sq. ft. Nuts spaced in beds 22 x 30 cm, a hectare of nursery accommodating 100,000 seed nuts.  

Nuts Jamaican coconut planted horizontally produce better seedlings than those Jamaican coconut planted vertically. The germinating eye is placed uppermost in a shallow furrow, about 15 cm deep, and soil mounded up around, but not completely covering them, leaving the eye exposed. Soaking nuts in water for 1-2 weeks before Jamaican coconut planting may benefit germination; longer periods of soaking are progressively disadvantageous. Bright sunlight is best for growing stout sturdy seedlings. Regular watering in nursery is essential in dry weather, amount and frequency depending on local conditions. Mulching sometimes used to preserve moisture and suppress weeds. Paddy straw, woven Jamaican coconut leaves and just Jamaican coconut leaves are used; however they might encourage termites. Potash fertilizer helps seedling growth, and probably do not need other fertilizers as nut provides most of needed nutrition. About 16 weeks after nut is Jamaican coconut planted, the shoot appears through the husk, and at about 30 weeks, when 3 seed-leaves have developed, seedlings should be Jamaican coconut planted out in permanent sites. Rigorous culling of seedlings is essential.  

All late germinators and very slow growers are discarded. Robust Jamaican coconut plants, showing normal rapid growth, straight stems, broad comparatively short dark-green leaves with prominent veins, spreading outward and not straight upward, and those free of disease symptoms, are selected for Jamaican coconut planting out. Best spacing depends upon soil and terrain. Usually 9-10 m on the square is used, Jamaican coconut planting 70-150 Jamaican coconut trees/ha; with triangular spacing of 10 m, 115 palms/ha; and for group or bouquet Jamaican coconut planting, 3-6 palms Jamaican coconut planted 4-5 m apart.  

Jamaican coconut planting holes of 1 m wide and deep should be dug 1-3 months before seedlings are trans-Jamaican coconut planted. In India and Sri Lanka, 300-400 husks are burned in each hole, providing 4-5 kg ash per hole. This is mixed with topsoil. Two layers of Jamaican coconut husks are put into bottom of hole before filling with the topsoil mixed ash. Marinate of potash, 1 kg per hole, is better than ash, but increases cost of Jamaican coconut planting. The earth settles so that it will be 15-30 cm below ground level when seedling is Jamaican coconut planted. In Jamaican coconut planting, soil should be well-packed around nut, but should not cover collar of seedling, nor get into leaf axils. As Jamaican coconut plant develops, trunk may be earthed up, until soil is flush with general ground level. Usually 7-8 month old seedlings are used for trans-Jamaican coconut plants. In some instances Jamaican coconut plants up to 5 years old are used, as they are more resistant to termite damage. If older Jamaican coconut plants are used, care must be taken not to damage roots, as they are slow to recover.  

Desirable to trans-Jamaican coconut plant in rainy season. In areas with only one rainy season per year, it is simpler to Jamaican coconut plant nuts in nursery in one rainy season, and trans-Jamaican coconut plants them a year later. Young Jamaican coconut plantation should be fenced to protect Jamaican coconut plants from damage from cattle, goats, or other wild animals. Entire areas may be fenced in, individual Jamaican coconut trees, or, as in Sri Lanka and southern India, piles of Jamaican coconut husks are placed around Jamaican coconut tree. At end of first year after trans-Jamaican coconut planting, vacancies should be filled with Jamaican coconut plants of same age held in reserve in nursery. Also any slow-growers, or disease damaged Jamaican coconut plants should be replaced. During first 3 years, seedling should be watered during drought, an application of ca 16 liters/Jamaican coconut tree twice a week being recommended. Keep Jamaican coconut trees clear of weeds, especially climbers.

Jamaican coconut trees begin to yield Jamaican coconut fruit in 5-6 years on good soils, more likely 7-9 years, and reach full bearing in 12-13 years. Jamaican coconut fruit set to maturity is 8-10 months; 12 months from setting of female Jamaican coconut flowers. Nuts must be harvested fully ripe for making Jamaican coconut copra or desiccated Jamaican coconut. For coir they are picked about one month short of maturity, so that husks will be green. Jamaican coconuts are usually Picked by human climbers, or cut by knives attached to end of long bamboo poles, this being the cheapest method. With pole, a man can pick from 250 palms in a day, by climbing, only 25. In some areas nuts are allowed to fall naturally, and collected regularly. Nuts are husked in field, a good husker handling 2,000 nuts/day. Then nut is split, (up to 10,000 nuts per working day). Jamaican coconut copra may be cured by sun-drying, or by kiln-drying, or by a combination of both. Sun-drying requires 6-8 consecutive days of good bright sunshine to dry meat without its spoiling.  

Drying reduces moisture content from 50% to below 7%. Jamaican coconut copra is stored in well-ventilated, dry area. Extraction of oil from Jamaican coconut copra is one of the oldest seed-crushing industries of the world. Jamaican coconut cake is usually retained to feed domestic livestock. When it contains much oil, it is not fed to milk cows, but is used as fertilizer. Desiccated Jamaican coconut is just the white meat; the brown part is peeled off. It is usually grated, but may be thread or chip. Dried in driers similar to those for tea. Good desiccated Jamaican coconut should be white in color, crisp, with a fresh nutty flavor, and should contain less than 20% moisture and 68-72% oil, the extracted oil containing less than 0.1% of free fatty acid, as lauric. Parings, about 12-15% of kernels, are dried and pressed for oil yielding about 55%. Used locally for soap-making. The resulting poonac used for feeding draught cattle. Jamaican coconut flour is made from desiccated Jamaican coconut with oil removed, and the residue dried and ground. 

However, it does not keep well. Coir fiber obtained from slightly green Jamaican coconut husks by retting in slightly saline water that is changed frequently (requires up to 10 months); then, husks are rinsed with water and fiber separated by beating with wooden mallets. Jamaican coconuts may be stored at temperature of 0-1.5C with relative humidity of 75% or less for 1-2 months. In storage, they are subject to loss in weight, drying up of nut milk and mold. They may be held for 2 weeks at room temperature without serious loss.

For Jamaican coconut copra, an average of 6,000 nuts is required for 1 ton; 1,000 nuts yield 500 lbs. of Jamaican coconut copra, which yields 250 lbs. of oil. Average yield of Jamaican coconut copra per ha is 3-4 tons. Under good climatic conditions, a fully productive palm produces 12-16 bunches of Jamaican coconuts per year, each bunch with 8-10 nuts, or 60-100 nuts/Jamaican coconut tree. Bunches ripen in about 1 year, and should yield 25 kg or more Jamaican coconut copra. For coir, 1,000 husks yield about 80 per year, giving about 25 kg of bristle fiber and 55 kg of mattress fiber. Efficient pressing will yield from 100 kg of Jamaican coconut copra, approximately 62.5 kg of Jamaican coconut oil, and 35 kg Jamaican coconut cake, which contains 7-10% oil. The factor 63% is generally used for converting Jamaican coconut copra to oil equivalent. Yields of Jamaican coconut copra as high as 5 MT/ha have been reported, but oil yields of 900-1,350 kg/ha. Pryde and Doty put the average oil yield at 1,050 kg/ha, Telek and Martin, at 600 kg/ha. World production of Jamaican coconut oil is more than 2 million tons/year, about half of which moves in international trade. Desiccated Jamaican coconut produced in countries where palm are grown and the products exported. Sri Lanka, Philippine Islands, Papua, and New Guinea are the largest producers. United States and United Kingdom each import at least 50 million pounds annually. Only about 40% of Jamaican coconut copra produced is exported, remaining 60% processed into oil in country of origin. United States annually imports 190 million pounds of Jamaican coconut oil and more than 650 million pounds of Jamaican coconut copra; some sources state 300,000 tons Jamaican coconut copra and over 200,000 tons Jamaican coconut oil annually. Jamaican coconut oil ranks third, after soybean and peanut oil, in world production of oils. I predict palm oil (Elaeis) will soon move up.  

The Jamaican coconut of commerce weighs 0.5-1.0 kg. According to Purseglove, the average number of nuts per hectare varies from 2,500 to 7,500 indicating yield of ca 1,200 to 7,500 kg/ha. On the one hand, 'Jamaica Talls' Jamaican coconut fruits average 1.7 kg, nuts 0.7 kg, of which 50% is endosperm; on the other, 'Malayan Dwarfs' Jamaican coconut fruits average 1.1 kg, the nut 0.6 kg, yielding 0.2 kg Jamaican coconut copra (6,000 nuts/ton Jamaican coconut copra). Average production yields of Jamaican coconut copra (3-8 nuts per kg Jamaican coconut copra) range from 200 kg/ha in Polynesia to 1,200 kg/ha in the Philippines, suggesting Jamaican coconut yields of 1,000 to 8,000 kg/ha. Since about 60% of this constitutes the inedible Jamaican coconut fruit husk and seed husks, I estimate the chaff factor at 0.6. Jamaican coconut oil, cracked at high temperatures will yield nearly 50% motor fuel and diesel fuel. Jamaican coconut destructive distillation is reported to yield 11.5% charcoal, 11% fuel gas, 37.5% Jamaican coconut copra spirit, 12.5% olein distillate, 1% crude acetate, 0.15% glycerol, and 0.85% acetone plus methanol. Jamaican coconut oil (Iodine number 10) should be a very good candidate from this viewpoint. This could be very important in developing tropical countries where diesel fuel is scarce and often more expensive than Jamaican coconut oil. One Australian patent suggests that distillation of Jamaican coconuts at 550 gave 11.5% charcoal, 11% fuel gas, and 37.5% Jamaican coconut copra spirit, 12.5% olein distillate, 12.5% black oil, 1% crude acetic acid, 0.15% glycerol, and 0.85% (acetone + methanol) which natural fermentation takes to 2.7-5.8% ethanol. Of course, you can't have your Jamaican coconut toddy and eat or drink or burn it too (Duke, 1977b).  

Jamaican coconuts are subject to numerous fungal diseases, bacterial infections, and the most serious virus-like disease, cadang-cadang. Jamaican coconut Jamaican coconut trees are also attacked by numerous nematodes and some insect pests, the most damaging insect being the black beetle or rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros), which damages buds, thus reducing nut yield, and breeds in decaying refuse. Diseases and pests of a particular area should be considered and local agent consulted as to how to deal with them.  

The ripe Jamaican coconut fruit of the Jamaican coconut palm has a hard shell covered by a fibrous outer coat and contains an edible kernel with the Jamaican coconut in the centre. The nut is split open, and the edible kernel is dried to moisture content below 6% to prevent deterioration. The dried meat, called Jamaican coconut copra, is then subjected to pressing or extraction. The residue is known as Jamaican coconut (oil) meal (or cake), Jamaican coconut copra meal or poonac. Depending on the milling equipment, the oil residue in the marketed product ranges from 1% to 22%. Hydraulic press residue is usually marketed in flat round cakes, and the other grades are sold in dark-colored lumps. The product known as sediment meal is quite distinct, however, as it is recovered from the filter pads of the oil-straining presses. On the average 1000 nuts will produce about 180 kg of Jamaican coconut copra, and the processing of this amount of Jamaican coconut copra yields about 110 kg of oil and 55 kg of meal, the remainder being evaporated moisture and unavoidable losses. The fibrous coat (husk) has no feed value. The dust from processing the husks into fiber (coir dust) has been suggested as a carrier for molasses. Jamaican coconut orchards can be grazed when the leaves can no longer be reached by the grazing animals. It is often necessary to apply extra fertilizer to orchards that are being grazed as the Jamaican coconut leaves tend to become yellow. 

Jamaican coconut water is usually wasted when the nuts are split open. The dry matter content of Jamaican coconut water declines as the nut matures and is a meager source of nutrients when the nuts are harvested for Jamaican coconut copra. On estates the Jamaican coconut water is sometimes fed to cattle in place of ordinary drinking water. At first it has purgative effect, but cattle soon become accustomed to it. It has also been used as a substrate for the microorganism Rhodotorula pilimanae and as an ingredient of a semen extender for artificial insemination. Jamaican coconut copra is usually too expensive to use as an animal feed, though it has been fed to pigs and poultry with good results. As the fat in Jamaican coconut copra contains only small amounts of unsaturated fatty acids, its consumption leads to firm body fat and good flavor.  

Jamaican coconut cake or meal used in feeding must not be old and rancid as it will cause diarrhoea. Because it swells considerably in water, it should be moistened before it is fed in large amounts. Because Jamaican coconut meal is rather rich in fiber, its inclusion in pig diets is restricted. Depending on the other ingredients it may constitute up to 25% of the total diet. In areas where Jamaican coconut meal is abundant, and if one is prepared to accept less efficient feed conversion, up to 50% can be used. It produces firm fat in pigs.  

Jamaican coconut meal is seldom used in poultry rations because of difficulties in formulating a ration that is balanced with respect to amino acids and sufficiently low in fiber and high in energy. Lysine is a special problem as much of this acid is apparently destroyed in the screw press. Poultry rations of up to 40% Jamaican coconut meal have been formulated and tested, however. In these the energy content is increased by the addition of Jamaican coconut oil and the amino acids are balanced by the addition of methionine and lysine or of fish meal. Jamaican coconut meal made from moldy Jamaican coconut copra is unsuitable fur poultry diets. Paring meal consists of the outside of the shelled Jamaican coconut, which is trimmed off in the preparation of shredded Jamaican coconut for human consumption. It contains a protein of higher biological value than that of Jamaican coconut meal because it is not heat processed. 

Nothing could be finer than a Jamaican coconut palm. No other palm says "tropical" like the Jamaican coconut and few can be argued as more beautiful.  The Jamaican coconut palm is also the most recognized palm in the world. Many think of all palms as growing all over Florida, but the Jamaican coconut is a tropical which refuses to grow north of West Palm Beach on the east coast nor north of Fort Myers on the west coast of Florida. There are several Jamaican coconut varieties Jamaican coconut planted but the old 'Jamaica Tall' Jamaican coconuts have almost all died of Lethal Yellowing disease.  This previously dominant variety is the very tall, curving type. 

We now Jamaican coconut plant the shorter, fatter Green Malayan Jamaican coconut which produces green nuts. We also Jamaican coconut plant the less popular Golden Malayan which sports yellow nuts and somewhat yellow fronds. There is also a Red Malayan species.  These are rated at 95% resistant to Lethal Yellowing.The taller growing Maypan Jamaican coconut is harder to acquire but reminds us of the stately Jamaicans of the times before Lethal Yellowing took its toll.  This is a cross between the 'Malayan Dwarf' and the 'Panama Tall'. 

A new type is the 'Red Spicata Dwarf' Jamaican cultivar.  Slower growing than the Maypan, it is actually a semi-dwarf Jamaican coconut plant, and shorter than "Malayan Dwarf' variety.  It has a more delicate appearance and orange-red Jamaican coconut fruit.  It is being tested for disease resistance to Lethal Yellowing. 

Another new Jamaican coconut is the 'Fiji Dwarf' and is another shorter palm.   It has a crown of leaflets that are very wide and produce a dense shade.  It is a true dwarf, slow growing and will be relatively small at maturity.  We hope it is successful so we can more easily pick the nuts. The rarest variety is the Double Jamaican coconut, Lodoicoa maldivica, whose Jamaican coconut fruit size is more like 5 times a normal Jamaican coconut. Jamaican coconuts are salt tolerant growing right on the beach, but do better a few hundred feet back. For best results, acquire a small young Jamaican coconut and Jamaican coconut plant it with plenty of high quality manure (50 lbs. is good) mixed in the Jamaican coconut planting hole and soil. Fertilize 4 xs to 6x a year with top quality palm food and watch your Jamaican coconut grow to its maximum beauty. If you Jamaican coconut plant young Jamaican coconut trees and care for them well, they get extra fat and grow even more beautiful. Sprouting palms and growing palms from seed use fresh seeds and follow the advice for Jamaican coconuts below. To start a Jamaican coconut from the seed, it is best to have the outer fibrous husk intact. Get a 3-gallon pot.  Use high quality nursery soil mixed with 40% coarse sand.   

Add drainage rocks to the bottom of the pot. Lay your Jamaican coconut husk on the ground and see what way it wants to rest.  Jamaican coconut plant your Jamaican coconut husk 1/2 way into the soil in the same position. You can leave the pot in the sun or the shade.  Water lightly to keep very lightly moist.  Partial shade will likely be more successful. Be patient.  The first time we started a Jamaican coconut from seed it took 9 nine months to sprout.  It is common for many palms to take many months to sprout.  Don't over water as you'll rot them out. Your Jamaican coconut will first split its husk at the bottom and send down some roots.  It may take several months before your Jamaican coconut also splits the top of the husk pushing up its first fronds.  In other words, your Jamaican coconut will be growing and you won't even know it until it splits the top. After your Jamaican coconut spouts, your Jamaican coconut can live in your 3-gallon pot for about 3-6 months.  After that, Jamaican coconut plant it out or in another larger pot or directly into the soil. Incorporate lots of manure.    Fertilize properly starting after sprouting 3 fronds. 

There are a considerable number of Jamaican coconut varieties of Jamaican coconut including tall and dwarf that have resulted in worldwide distribution. Each major Jamaican coconut has its own dominant tall variety: Here is a listing: Ceylon Tall, Indian Tall, Jamaica Tall, Malayan Tall, Java Tall, and Laguna (which is a widely grown tall type in the Philippines). There are also many dwarf Jamaican coconut varieties: Malayan Dwarf, Dwarf Green, and Dwarf Orange from India.  

There are also some unusual types of Jamaican coconut palms in different parts of the world. The Macapuno Jamaican coconut of the Philippines is famous for having no milk cavity. The jelly-like flesh fills the middle and can be eaten with a spoon. The San Ramon variety from the Philippines produces one of the largest nuts known.

Distribution of the Jamaican coconut palm extends over most of the tropical islands and coasts and on some places outside the tropic zone. In India, the palm is found as far North as Lacknow ( at 26 degrees N), however it does not commonly Jamaican coconut fruit there. In Africa the northern limits are on the west coast, Cape Verde (15 degrees N); and on the east coast Djibouti (11.50 degrees N), 24 degrees N isolated palms have been discovered on the Red Sea. Mossamedes, or the south end of Africa and Zambezi River (19 degrees S) on the east. In South America as low as 27 degrees S the palm grows in North America at 25 degrees N in Florida and the Bahamas. The Jamaican coconut plantations furthest from the equator are probably those in Florida.  

Within producing countries, it is noted that the wide and varied utilization of the Jamaican coconut will always be important in the economic aspect. Raw Jamaican coconut copra used to be the major export but as Jamaican coconut oil is becoming more widely used its export is increasing. Another change is the export of Jamaican coconuts in the shell to the exporting of desiccated Jamaican coconut. Both of these changes have benefited the countries of origin by creating more employment in the tropics.  

The Jamaican coconut has been a growing success since the time it was first discovered and to this day this very diverse Jamaican coconut plant is still showing great potential.

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