The coconut tree that is grown almost everywhere in the world, is one of the most useful trees to nature. Widely known for utilizing oil, food, wood, and fiber, the coconut tree belongs to the one in 1500 species of the Palmaceae family. Talking about the roots of a coconut tree, they survive in saline water and possess a trunk of 80-100 feet high. These coconut trees highly grow in sandy soils and require full sunlight to develop and mature. The coconut tree can withstand a high amount of salinity and hence, these trees can be found in coastal tropical areas of the world.
Scientific Classification of the Coconut Tree
The coconut tree is derived from the kingdom named Plantae. It is a member of the family called Arecaceae. The phylum to which the coconut tree belongs is Angiospermae and its class is known as Monocot. The genus of the coconut tree is Cocos and its species is referred to as Nucifera.
What Kind of Root System Does the Coconut Tree Possess?
The coconut trees have an adventitious root system. These adventitious roots do not develop from the parent plant. Instead, these roots grow from the stem or trunk of the original plant. The roots of the coconut palm tree emerge from a 15-inch-wide area near the bottom of the trunk.
Coconut Bole of the Root
Coconut palm roots lack cambium tissue, which is responsible for the growth of lateral roots and root filaments on many roots. Coconut palms do not have taproots. Rather, they have a bole that sustains the tree, which is made up of multiple, astonishingly consistent primary roots approximately 12 inches broad that extend both deep and to the sides. Broadleaf tree roots get bigger over time, but coconut palm roots stay the very same size. The horizontal root growth of the coconut tree can extend up to 32 feet in height.
Growth and Development of the Coconut Tree
The roots of the coconut palm develop near the tip. Minerals and water are collected beneath the tip through a single layer of slender cells in a short section of the epidermis. The cells of the absorbent epidermis expand and decrease their capacity to absorb moisture as they age. They degrade with time, revealing a firm, reddish hypodermis that retains nutrients.
Water and Roots
The coconut palm’s roots have developed to thrive near the sea. Freshwater is lighter than salt water. A small coating of freshwater covers the seawater just beneath the sand at the beach’s tip. The covering of freshwater thickens once it rains. Even though the coconut palm can withstand saline water, the depth of its roots is limited. Plant leaves absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen during photosynthesis to make nutritious carbohydrates. Plant cells, like all other cells, require oxygen. The roots absorb oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. This gaseous exchange occurs near the surface in coconut roots than those in the roots of all other plants.
The Root System of the Coconut Tree
Fibrous or adventitious root systems are a kind of coconut root system that consists of roots that are close to the surface of the coconut tree. For the sustainability of the coconut tree, an adventitious root system forms around the plant and a few roots reach deep into the soil. The number of coconut roots found on a coconut tree is proportional to its age. Coconut palm plants may be found all across the tropics, yielding big trees for landscaping, palm fronds for decoration, and coconuts for fruit and oil production. Sandy soils, high humidity, mild temperatures, strong sunlight, and consistent rainfall are all ideal for coconut trees to grow and mature. As per the Blue Planet Biomes, coconut palms thrive on or around coastlines to ensure that their shallow root system gets exposed to water. However, these trees can withstand exposure to saline water, as well. As per the Ikisan Agricultural Information of India, the root system of the coconut tree consists of a large number of shallow roots that extend away from the plant towards the surface. Fibrous or adventitious root systems are a feature of grass species that penetrate deep into the soil for the plant’s strength and sturdiness. Other huge trees generate a single tap root that grows downward with a few feeder roots sprouting from it. The coconut trees tend to grow roots from the stem base during their lives. The amount of roots generated is dependent on the tree’s maturity and environment, with a plant that is 60 to 70 years old capable of producing more than 3,600 roots. Coconut tree roots are typically less than 3 inches wide and consistently broad from tree stump to its root tip.
The Stem of the Coconut Palm Tree
The stem grows from the palm’s only photosynthetic growth point, a solitary terminal bud known as the ‘cabbage.‘ The basis of a young palm’s trunk achieves full growth in 3-4 years under the ideal conditions. The trunk of the tall kinds can be up to 0.8 meters in diameter at the base, falling fast to approximately 0.4 meters. The diameter of the trunk does not fluctuate significantly once it has been developed. If there is diversity from base to crown, it is due to environmental circumstances and cultural behaviors rather than biological causes. The quickest development of stem cells occurs in the early phases, when they may grow up to 1.5 meters each year. As the palms get older, the pace of additional development slows down to 10-15 centimeters each year. There is no cambium in the coconut stem. As a result, it is unable to restore injured tissues. A healthy palm, on the other hand, may contain up to 18000 vascular bundles, which allow it to sustain severe physical damage to its base if pests are kept out from ruining the tree.
How are the Leaves of the Coconut Palm Tree?
The pinnae of a coconut seedling’s early leaves have bonded together and looked like whole leaves. Following the formation of eight to ten leaves, the succeeding leaves tend to break into leaflets. The stem of the coconut tree begins to form having a single terminal growth point wherein new leaves sprout after 3-4 years. On average, an adult palm generates 12-16 new leaves every year, each with its own flower cluster (inflorescence). A good crown has around 30-40 leaves and a comparable quantity of leaf primordia, each of which is separated for about 30 months before emerging as a ‘sword leaf.’ A full leaf has 200-250 leaflets and is 3-4 meters long. A leaf stays on the palm for roughly three years before falling off and creating lasting scarring on the palm. The quantity of leaf scars on a mature palm is related to its age. The palm’s estimated age in years is calculated by multiplying the frequency of scars on the stem by 13. This might be useful in determining the age of current palms employed as breeding materials.
Inflorescence of the Coconut Tree
The coconut inflorescence is wrapped in the double sheathing or spathe, which is produced individually in the apices of each leaf and is called a ‘spadix.’ The palm is monoecious, which means it has both male and female flowers in its spike. Male flowers outnumber female flowers by a factor of two. The latter is found on the tops of spikelets that are joined to a pedicel or main axis. The female flowers are found at the end of the spikelets.
From one to three days, a female flower is receptive. The female phase may start a few days or longer after the spathe has emerged, based on climatic circumstances and variety, and can last 3-5 days in tall palms and 8-15 days in dwarf ones. Female flowers can number from 10 to 50 in a typical inflorescence. Natural pollination frequently results in 50-70 percent of flowers aborting and falling off, especially those that develop during extremely dry conditions. The remaining petals turn into fruits, which take roughly a year to reach full maturity. The duration of the male and female phases is influenced by the climate, and they seldom overlap in tall kinds, resulting in self-pollination.
Fruits of the Coconut Tree
Fruits set and mature in around 12 months, or even less than a year for certain dwarf varieties, after flowering. A count of bunches and fruit sets can provide a reliable production estimate. The fruit of the coconut palm tree is a fibrous drupe having a smooth outer skin known as exocarp that varies in color from green to red-brown to ivory. The immature coconut coat called mesocarp is creamy and firm. The mature seed, on the other hand, contains a fibrous material called the husk, out of which coir is made. The seed with a hard shell or endocarp surrounding the kernel is contained within such a fibrous mass known as endosperm. A small brown seed coat lies across the shell and the kernel of the coconut. It sticks tightly to the kernel, which is the white flesh that lines the core cavity holding the seed water and is roughly 12 millimeters thick. The quantity of water in the cavity reduces dramatically as maturation progresses, either owing to uptake by the endosperm tissue or evaporation. The number of seeds generated per palm, unit area, and weight of comparable copra are commonly used to measure the yield of the tree.
Characteristics of the Coconut Tree
Coconut palms may reach a height of 80 feet in certain types. As per Blue Planet Biomes, certain species, like the dwarf palm, have smaller stems but larger leaves. Coconut palms develop in around a year or two and can produce up to 50 seeds every year. Palms may be found growing in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, Central America, the Pacific Islands, and South America. They thrive in Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the southernmost regions of Florida in the United States. According to recent research, most pesticides harm or destroy fragile coconut palm root systems. Concrete, as well as any other chemicals, can never be used around coconut trees. The trees may perish if they are placed too close to walkways or pavement.
Coconut Tree Cultivation
Coconut palms do not develop via prunings or grafting; they exclusively develop from the coconuts they yield. When the seeds are shaken, they create a “sloshing” sound and are set to be planted. Seeds should be covered on their sides in soil or mulch to roughly half their thickness. Temperatures between 90 and 100 degrees F are ideal for seed germination. As per the extension service, the root and sprouts of the coconut tree will grow from the end of the seed. Young trees can be planted into lawns and gardens, as well as bigger pots, after around six months. They are simple to transplant because of their thin fibrous root structure.
Uses of the Coconut Tree
- Coconut water is a natural way to hydrate your mouth. It is included in the regular diet because it is a rich source of protein and contains a variety of nutrients.
- Coconut water can be an excellent substitute for artificial electrolytes because it is high in potassium and can improve the body’s electrolytes equilibrium.
- Coconut water can be consumed to prevent calcium and magnesium deficiency in the diet.
- Coconut water’s benefits aren’t just for humans; phytohormones, minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, and amino acids are all found in it, and it’s been utilized for micropropagation and plant tissue culture for centuries.
- Coconut oil is utilized in cooking and frying in India’s southern states.
- Coconut oil is distinct from other saturated oils in that it is high in saturated fats, particularly MCT (medium-chain triglycerides). As a result, coconut oil is utilized in everyday cooking.
- Coconut oil aids in the maintenance of high-density lipoprotein concentrations, which aids in heart health and weight loss.
- Coconut oil is high in antioxidants, which can aid in the provision of critical nutrients for hair development.
- Copper and iron are abundant in coconut, which helps with the development of RBC.
- Coconut contains selenium, an important antioxidant that helps cells from oxidative stress.
- Coconut water is high in micronutrients, which are essential for good health.
- Several topical formulations for hair loss and thinning hair have been produced utilizing coconut oil, coconut cream, coconut milk, and coconut water.
- Tender coconut water has long been utilized as an intravenous fluid for effectively treating people.
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects are found in virgin coconut oil.
- Coconut oil is ideal for repairing rough hair, as well as for dandruff-prone scalp and hair loss.
- Coconut oil can help with scalp issues by supplying important nutrients and nourishing the hair.
- Coconut tree roots are often used in the production of pigment and mouthwash. It’s also utilized in the preparation of dysentery medicine.
- Coconut meat, both fresh and dried, provides enough fiber to be used in a number of cuisines.
- Coconut young leaves are mashed into a paste that is used to wounds to stop bleeding.
What are the Functions of a Root System of Coconut Trees?
We all know that coconut trees have got long fronds and trunks. Hence, their roots are almost moist and they perform the function of providing the plant with enough nutrition. Now, let us learn about some more functions of the coconut tree root system.
- The coconut tree root system tends to absorb moisture from the soil and keep the plant hydrated.
- For preventing the plant from yellowing, the roots of the coconut trees absorb essential minerals like manganese, iron, and magnesium.
- The roots conduct water and minerals upto the trunk or stem to keep the fronds fresh and green.
- The roots of the coconut trees are responsible for anchoring and supporting the plant.
- By grabbing the soil components with their roots, the coconut tree fibrous roots become essential for cementing the sandy soil surrounding them.
- Coconut tree roots may also be used to heal urinary infections, gallstone difficulties, and other renal issues.
- For treating urinary tract infections, simply boil some 4-5 coconut tree roots in water, then consume the water after it has been cooled.
- Fibrosis patients should prepare 3-5 finger-long sections of root and consume it for a few days for better recovery.
- The consumption of these roots can help the patient in the melting of clotted blood.
- Apart from all these diseases, heartburn can also be treated with coconut tree roots.