THE COCONUT TREE
TREE OF LIFE
coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a palm, the most valuable palm of the moist
Niyog for people of Luzon
islands and lubi for Visayan and Mindanao natives has a swollen base, its
slender, ringed trunk may reach a height from
approximately 32 meters to 100 meters.
Its leatherish trunk is topped by a crown of
of about 25 to 30 large primate leaves. Each leaf
may grow to a length of at least 20 feet or 6 meters.
The leaf is consist of a petiole, strong fibrous
leaf stalk and rachis, a midrib from where extend many
leaflets. and the compound flower stalks from which the
nuts, its fruits develop.
flowering of a coconut tree usually
begins when it is
7 to 10 years
flower cluster, classified botanically as a spadix is
produced in the axil (the angle between the upper
surface of the leaf-stalk and stem) of each leaf.
to its origin, most authorities reached a conclusion
that the plant came originally from tropical Americana
and reached tropics in
Pacific and its adjacent islands for some unknown
reasons and man
is believed to
be the main responsible for its dispersal.
However, on its own simple coconut tree adrift by ocean currents for many months in the sea when cast ashore is capable of producing a tree, if environmental conditions are favorable. This is the main mode of its propagation among the tropical island.
may be collected after they fall, or harvesters may
climb the tree about every three months to cut the
Harvesting also can be done from the ground by
means of a knife attached to a long pole.
what is exactly a lubi?
part of this tree is indispensable.
Let's start with its fruit one can eat the edible meat found inside the green nut and have a feast on Buko Salad (Native Coconut Salad) and its water which is sweet is said to be good for those who are suffering from kidney problems.
its mature nut, the coconut husk (Filipinos used them
everdependable floor polisher- some
swear its a good exercise as well) yields coir.
a highly resistant fiber to water particularly to
salt water thus, a good material for brushes, bags,
mats, baskets, brooms, mats, placemats and other
Filipino "floor polisher"
The coconut shell is used also as manufactured charcoal for ironing and barbecue cooking (roasting of meat and fish over a charcoal fire). On the other hand, the construction industry used the sturdy and fibrous trunk as posts and beams as building posts.
of its famous
products is the toddy, or tuba
(see related story from this website) which for the
native the best wine in the world when this sweet sap is
fermented it may be used as sugar and alcohol.
also a by-product of coconut. Every Filipino household
knows his dish taste better with this as one of his
A Filipino mother uses the ubod or pith found in the core near the top of the tree as salad vegetable or cook them as lumpia.
The coconut, however, attains great commercial value first as copra - the dried extracted meat from mature nuts; then as coconut oil- the result of copra milling; and finally, as alcohols and acids- the result of chemical processing of the oil. It is estimated that 60 per cent of the world's coconut oil is destined for industrial use. The remaining 40 percent is used as cooking oil, margarine, vegetable shortening. The coconut provided the world its most popular vegetable oil.
coconut oil, fatty alcohols, and acids are extracted.
These, in turn, are utilized in many chemical
products such as shampoo (gugo),
soaps, detergents, synthetic rubber, candle
(scented or unscented), glycerin, hydraulic brake fluid,
oil as substance contains high uric acid contents, which
imparts a quick-lathering property for quick-lathering
Its oil's left over, copra meal and cake may be used as livestock fertilizer.
to a Filipiniana book, "an annual yield of 100 nuts
per tree can be attained, with fifty considered as good.
The current annual yield in the Philippines,
however, averages less than fifty, with yields of
twenty-five to thirty nuts being common, perhaps because
most of the coconut trees are very old.
Hence, experiments are being conducted to develop
early-maturing, high-yielding varieties from hybrids that
bear fruit after three years to replace the old, less
This is must since Philippines, is considered to be one of the greatest earners of coconut export industry. It supplies about one-third of the world's demand for copra and coconut oil. While the principal importers of copra and coconut oil are U.S.A, Japan and Europe.
The Arroyo administration is bent on setting up of a coco chemical industry to process coconut oil into higher value chemical preparations, for export and for domestic industry. Another prospect being looked up to, is for the domestic coconut industry to have a production of diesel fuel mix using the coconut oil. Optimists believe that there is a great possibility that through this experiment Philippines will no longer be dependent on crude oil.
for always Filipinos are singing: "Coconut nut is a
giant nut, if you eat too much you
get very fat".