Coconut Botany & Varieties

The cultural practices have to be adopted to suit the varying climatic and soil conditions.

Varieties: There are only two distinct varieties of coconut, the tall and the dwarf. The tall cultivars that are extensively grown are the West Coast Tall and East Coast Tall. The dwarf variety is shorter in stature and its life span is short as compared to the tall. (Click the respective variety to navigate this page)



  • Long lived palm living generally to an age of about 80 to 90 years
  • Palms thrive well under different soil conditions varying from littoral sands to red loams and laterites.
  • Palms grow well up to an altitude of 3,000 ft. above the sea level. It is fairly resistant to diseases and pests.
  • The tree attains a height of about 15m to 18m or more
  • It begins to bear in about 8 to 10 years after planting
  • The nut is medium to big in size varying in shape from spheroid to linear-oblong and with colors varying from green, yellow and orange to shades of brown.
  • About 6,000 nuts yield a ton of copra.

List of Tall Varieties: (Click the respective tall variety to view its details)

Suitable varieties for Tamil Nadu: West Coast Tall, Chandrakalpa or Lakshadweep ordinary (LCT), VPM – 3 (Andaman Ordinary), East coast tall ,Aliyar Nagar 1, Kera Chandra (Philippines Ordinary)

Suitable Varieties for Kerala: West coast tall, Chandrakalpa or Lakshadweep ordinary (LCT), Philippines Ordinary (Kerachandra), VPM – 3 (Andaman Ordinary), Kera Sagara (Seychelles)

Suitable varieties for Karnataka: West Coast Tall, Tiptur Tall (TPT), Chandrakalpa or Lakshadweep ordinary (LCT), VPM – 3 (Andaman Ordinary), Kera Chandra (Philippines Ordinary)

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  • The dwarf coconut is small in stature (5-7 m) and commences bearing earlier than the tall variety
  • Dwarf coconut palms flower as early as the third year after planting and come to regular bearing in the ninth year.
  • The average life span is 40-50 years.
  • Dwarf or short variety which producing green, orange and yellow nuts.
  • Susceptible to drought.
  • Nuts are small in size and ovoid or round in shape
  • Nut weighs about 3 oz (85 gm) with 65 per cent oil content.

List of Dwarf Varieties: (Click the respective tall variety to view its details)

Suitable varieties for Tamil Nadu: Chowghat Orange Dwarf (COD), Chowghat Green Dwarf (CGD)
Suitable Varieties for Kerala: Chowghat Orange Dwarf (COD), Chowghat Green Dwarf (CGD)
Suitable varieties for Karnataka: Chowghat Orange Dwarf (COD)

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Hybrids are the intervarietal crosses of two morphological forms of coconut. They show earliness in flowering and give increased yield, higher quantity and better quality of copra and oil when compared to the parents. When the tall is used as female they are called T*D hybrid while the reciprocal is known as D*T hybrid. Hybrids perform well under good management conditions including nutrient management and irrigation.


  • Hybrids are the intervarietal crosses between the two morphological forms of coconut.
  • They exhibit earliness in flowering, increased nut yield, higher copra production and give better quality copra and oil as compared to the parents.
  • Hybrids are produced in two ways, with tall as female parent and dwarf as male parent (Tall x Dwarf) or dwarf as female parent and tall as male parent (Dwarf x Tall).
  • Besides intervarietal hybrids like Tall x Tall and Dwarf x Dwarf are also produced.

List of Hybrid Varieties: (Click the respective tall variety to view its details)

Suitable varieties for Tamil Nadu: Kerasankara (WCT x COD), Chandrasankara (COD x WCT), Kerasoubhagya (WCT x SSAT), VHC 1(ECT x MGD), VHC 2(ECT x MYD), VHC 3(ECT x MOD)

Suitable Varieties for Kerala: Kerasankara(WCT x COD), Chandrasankara (COD x WCT), Chandralaksha(LCT x COD), Keraganga (WCT x GBGD), Lakshaganga (LCT x GBGD), Anandaganga(ADOT x GBGD), Kerasree (WCT x MYD), Kerasoubhagya (WCT x SSAT)

Suitable varieties for Karnataka: Kerasankara (WCT x COD), Chandrasankara (COD x WCT), Chandralaksha (LCT x COD), Kerasoubhagya (WCT x SSAT)

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Division           :                      Phanerogams
Sub-Division   :                       Angiosperms
Class                :                       Monocotyledons
Series               :                       Calycieae
Order               :                       Arecales
Family             :                       Arecaceae
Genus              :                       Cocos
Species            :                       nucifera (L)
Varieties          :                       (a) Cocos nucifera L.Var.typica (Tall)
                                                (b) Cocos nucifera L.Var nana (Dwarf)

  • One of the most useful plants is the coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, which is grown around the world in lowland tropical and subtropical habitats. From this species we can get many natural products, including foods, drinks, fibers, building materials, and chemicals..
  • The plant is a feather palm, which means that its leaves are pinnately compound (like a feather); these leaves are frequently used in thatching. The long trunk of the tree is used for building supports.
  • Coconut palms are an excellent source of food for native peoples in the tropics.
  • Fruits are rich in calories and essential vitamins.
  • This fiber is called the coir and is used for making mats and rope.
  • The shell is used for containers and is widely employed by artisans to make ornaments and decorations. The solid endosperm, copra, is harvested, dried, and then pressed to release the oil, widely used for chief ingredients of shampoo and hair conditioners.
  • The palm has adventitious roots continually produced from the base of the trunk, which is the swollen part or what is termed 'bole', in tall types and in some dwarf hybrids.
  • It has no taproot or root hairs but has lots of primary roots which bear large quantities of rootlets.
  • The main roots grow out somewhat horizontally from the bole and are mostly found within the topsoil. The main branches grow deeper and may extend laterally to as much as 10 m.
  • The roots, having no cambium, are noticeably uniform - the main roots reaching a maximum diameter of about 1 cm. The root tip is the actively growing region and behind it is the absorbing area whose epidermis is a single layer of thin-walled cells that gradually thicken and become impervious with age.
  • In old roots, the epidermis disintegrates and exposes the hard hypodermis which is generally red.
  • The root centre has a stele surrounded by a single-celled pericycle sheath from which rootlets and aerenchymatous (respiratory exchange) protuberances or pneumatophores arise. The respiratory exchange occurs more abundantly nearer the soil surface to allow easy diffusion of root.
  • The stem is called as Trunk
  • It is unbranched, erect, stout and cylindrical
  • The leaf base encircles the stem as they have scars with pit mark on the trunk
  • The scars are helpful in determining the age of the tree. Based on these 12 to 14 scars, the age can be computed for a year
  • First few years there is increased growth in the thickness of the stem
  • The girth remains uniform for a number of years and finally tapers in growth when the tree grows very old
  • The trunk carries a big crown with large sized leaves and bunches of fruits
  • The leaves are crowded together at the top of the trunk in the form of a crown
  • The young leaf appears in the centre of the crown as a pointed structure having all the leaves closely held together
  • It takes five months for the complete development of a leaf from the time of initiation to its complete emergence
  • The crown has 15 open leaves, 15 youngee leaves in different stages of development
  • The leaf consists of many leaflets arranged obliquely on the mid-rib or rachis
  • Each leaflet is long, linear, has a strong mid-rib with narrow lamina and parallel venation
  • The petiole is flat, very thick, broad and sheather with fibre at the base and encircles the stem
  • It takes 34 months for the inflorescence to develop from the initiation to the opening of the spathe
  • The spadix is stout and erect, enclosed by the tough spathe which splits when infloresecence is mature
  • The axis of the inflorescence is branched, with the branches bearing sessile flowers, both staminate and pistillate • The palm is monoceious with male and female flowers on the same plant
  • Staminate flowers are small, numerous and are arranged closely on the secondary branches of the inflorescence
  • They have six perinathe lobes in two whorls.and the outer perinath are small, the inner perinath is bigger
  • Stamens are six and plenty of pollen is produced. An abortive psitillate or rudimentary ovary is present in the staminate flower. The pollen grains are spherical in shape and are smooth
  • Pistillate flowers are at about the base of the branches substened by one or two staminate flowers
  • They are small spherical structure known as ‘button’
  • Six perinath lobes in two whorls arranged imbricate and more or less of the same size and shape
  • The perinath is rounded, concave and whitish, the stigma is found at the base of the ovary
  • Once pollination and fertilization occur, fruits set and develop to maturity in about 12 months, or less than 1 year for some dwarf cultivars. A count of bunch and fruit set can give a reasonable estimate of yield.
  • Fruit is drupe, having three regions and one seeded .On the outside is the husk,
  • The fruit is developed from a tricarpellary ovary
  • The outer layers of pericarp are fibrous,called as husk which is initially green but turns brown after being picked and dried. • The endocarp is very hard and forms the shell
  • Within the endocarp, soft white endosperm enclosing inside a big cavity filled with extra-cellular fluid called as "coconut milk." The seed coat, which is thin, and then the white flesh or copra .Both the copra and the milk are the endosperm of this seed.
  • Initially the milk is fairly sweet and the copra is thin, but as the seed matures, the liquid is converted into solid endosperm rich in oils (triglycerides).
  • The endosperm or the kernel has also contains sucrose, fructose, galactose, glucose and raffinose
  • The moisture content in the kernel diminishes as the maximum quantity of oil is formed when the nuts are 9-10 months old
  • Liquid endosperm contains large quantities of cytokine hormone which is useful to grow plants in test tubes from single cells and this develops into embryos.

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