The coconut is the most useful crop in the world. In India, we have a saying that the man who plants a coconut, plants meat, drink, hearth and home, vessels and even clothing, not only for himself but for his children also.Like a Kalpavrisha it fulfill all the requirements of the man.
All parts of coconut are very useful.It has the outer skin, the fibrous covering, the hard woody shell, the kernel, the liquid or the milk and the seed from which you can grow a new coconut tree. It is very useful plant.
Coconut tree is referred as Kalpavriksha, mainly because it is useful for mankind in its totality. The tree gives the nut. It has several uses. To start with, a tender coconut is a delicious and soothing drink, the paste like inner portion also is delicious. If it is ripe enough it is used with different curries or for extracting milk used for sweets.
The dried coconut produces coconut oil, which has a wide variety of applications. it is applied on the body in raw form or in medicated form. It is added as a major ingredient when bathing soaps are produced. Like that there several uses.
The coconut shell is used for making different art forms. It also is used for making charcoal and other byproducts. The outer cover of the coconut is the row material for making coir and coir products.The coir pith, when treated, converts itself into a good mannure.
As far as the tree is considered, if it is old enough, it has a wide range of uses. Any piece of furniture can be made out of it.
The coconut leaves are widely used for thatching the roofs of houses in villages, or for making 'panthals' (temporary constructions). Broomsticks are made using the narrow sticks attached to the individual leaves (called 'eerkil' in Malayalam).
Other portions are used as firewood in the rural areas.
The name is derived from the 'Kalpadhenu' referring the cow. All products from cows are used by human beings. Similarly this is a 'vriksha' (tree) which can completely be used by human beings.
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Tall, slender, majestic with open umbrella of fronds at the top, the coconut palm-also known as the Kalpavriksha-dominates many Indian landscapes.
Every part of the coconut tree is used. Coconut water, a refreshing drink, is directly sipped from the unripe fruit, the grated and dried copra is used to thicken sauces, and the oil extracted from the fruit is a popular frying medium. Palm sugar or jaggery is made from the juice extracted by cutting young stems of several palm species such as the coconut palm, the palmyra palm, and particularly the kittul palm. The coconut sap can also be fermented to yield toddy, an alcoholic beverage. The shells are used to make handicraft objects, spoons and ladles, leaves are dried to remove their veins for making brooms, and the jute-like material from the nodes is used as a material for lining.
Features of Coconut Tree
The coconut palm is a long-lived plant; it has a single trunk, 20-30 metre tall, its bark is smooth and gray, marked by ringed scars left by fallen leaf bases. The tree can live as long as 100 years producing an annual yield of 50 to 100 coconuts. Coconut palms are found throughout the tropics, and can also be successfully grown in areas that receive only mild frosts. 90% of the world's coconut production for exports, sources from the Asia-Pacific region, though coconut products are an increasing source of revenues for many other developing areas.
The coconut palm is perhaps the widest-grown palm in the world, coconuts feature as one of the main sources of income for producing countries, in that a large number of different products utilized and appreciated in the western countries as well are made out of them.
Uses of Coconut Tree and its parts
Besides drink, food and shade, coconut tree offers the possibilities of housing, thatching, hats, baskets, furniture, mats, cordage, clothing, charcoal, brooms, fans, ornaments, musical instruments, shampoo, containers, implements and oil for fuel, light, ointments, soap, and more. Its leaves are used to make baskets, roofing thatch etc., apical buds of adult plants are an excellent palm-cabbage, an alcoholic drink known as Toddy or palm wine is extracted from its sugar sap, tapped from the inflorescence by means of apposite cuttings. The tree is considered the most useful tree in the tropics because it provides everything needed to sustain life - The Kalpa Vriksha!
Coconuts are the fruit of the coconut palm tree, which originated in Southeast Asia, and was transported throughout the Pacific either by migrating Indonesians and Polynesians or on the drifting ocean currents.
Coconuts are used as whole fruits or, conversely, by their parts: mesocarp fibers, milk, kernel (or flesh), husk. Its fruit, as big as a man’s head and 1-2 kg in weight, is a drupe with a thin, smooth, grey-brown epicarp, a fibrous, 4-8 cm thick, mesocarp and a woody endocarp; as it is rather light, it can be carried long distances by water while keeping its germinability for a long time. Inside it contains one seed, rich in reserve substances located in the endosperm, which is partly liquid (coconut milk), partly solid (flesh). When its embryo germinates, its radical breaks through one of the three germinating pores, visible from the outside as well.
Coconuts will remain fresh for several months, making them ideal for shipping around the world and into your supermarket. The fruit should feel heavy, heavier than it looks, and when shaken, you should hear the water sloshing around inside. Avoid fruit with cracks in the shell or any evidence of dampness or mold, especially around the "eyes" of the coconut.
The biggest challenge for most of us is opening the coconut! A hammer is actually not the best tool, so get a screwdriver out of the tool chest, and a rubber mallet or something similar (a rock will work). Please don't waste that water inside! Drink it or use it to make a wonderful, melt in your mouth pudding.
More importantly, it's used in the manufacture of such diverse products as soap, lubricants, explosives and margarine. The thick outer husk is a source of a tough fiber called coir used to make doormats and brushes. The leaves are used in some areas for roofing thatch and basket weaving. Most of us in the U.S. are familiar with the coconut palm from resorts in Florida and the Caribbean. Since falling coconuts can pose a serious (sometimes fatal!) health hazard to guests, they are sometimes removed by resort managers hoping to avoid lawsuits.
Copra is the meat of the coconut and in shredded form probably the most familiar to those who do not live in the tropics. It is an oil-rich pulp with a very light, slightly sweet and nutty flavor. As with most fruits, it's best eaten fresh, but does preserve very well in dried and frozen form, and both the oil and the milk derived from the copra have long shelf lives.
The oil extracted from the copra (Coconut Oil) has been the subject of intense debate as to its nutritional value or harm, though value seems to have won out over a scare that may have been launched by the competition. As a "functional food," coconut oil is now being recognized by the medical community as a powerful tool against immune diseases. Several studies have been done on its effectiveness, and much research is currently being done on the incredible nutritional value of pure coconut oil.
Coconut Water & Coconut Milk
Coconut Water and Coconut Milk are not the same thing. The lightly flavored liquid inside a coconut is water and is typically drunk straight from the coconut for a very refreshing and nutritious drink. It loses nutritional value quickly and will begin to ferment once removed from the shell. Coconut milk is made from shredded or grated coconut pulp mixed with hot water to extract the oils and flavors. The former is quite welcome after a hot, dusty hike or too much time in the sun, and the later is used in cooking and as a replacement for cow's milk. A cold-sterilization process is being explored that would permit the bottling of fresh coconut water for sale as an energy drink.
Hence it is rightly called as 'Kalpavriksha'.
Man can use every part of the coconut. The white nut-meat can be eaten raw or shredded and dried and used in most cooking recipes. A single coconut has as much protein as a quarter pound of beefsteak. Copra, the dried meat of the kernels, when crushed is the source of 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 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 coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. On many islands coconut is a staple in the diet and provides the majority of the food eaten. Nearly one third of the world's population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy. Among these cultures the coconut has a long and respected history.
Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a "functional food" because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil is of special interest because it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations. Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for all illness. The coconut palm is so highly valued by them as both a source of food and medicine that it is called "The Tree of Life." Only recently has modern medical science unlocked the secrets to coconut's amazing healing powers.
because it is the only tree which was usefull in many ways hence used for purposes like drinking water, making hair oil making houses, brooms and for meditation and mainly used for making ropes, which was the first use of this tree, it was hard to live life in those days, just imagine life without having todays technology, so coconut tree was used as multi purpose tree hence it was called kalpavriksha,