Is a Coconut a Nut or a Fruit?
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The coconut palm Cocos nucifera grew originally on the sea beaches of the Pacific Islands but its exact home is uncertain. The nut was spread by the sea as its fruit is encased in a tough leathery coat filled with coir fibre which gives the fruit bouyancy. The coconut became widely scattered throughout the tropical coastal environments of the world. The plants are valuable for food, thatch, coir fibre, copra oil as well as various uses for the shell of the nut and the press-cake remaining after oil extraction. Whether coconuts are fruits, vegetables or nuts is not an easy question, because some of these words have a technical meaning as well as the meaning your granny would expect.
Coconuts come from the coconut palm tree, and even though the word "nut" is found in its name, it technically isn't one. The coconut is actually a fibrous one-seeded drupe, which is a category of fruit. While some could argue that nuts are also one-seeded fruits and that therefore coconuts are also nuts, they lack any other botanical characteristics of nuts. The way a fruit, like a coconut , is formed, is very different from the way a nut is formed. Both have seeds, which are edible, but the way they are constructed is different. The growing coconut does not look anything like what you might find in the store.
One of the most common questions we are asked by patients with tree nut allergy is whether coconut is a fruit or a nut. Unfortunately, the answer is a little complicated. Botanically, the coconut is classified as a fruit--more specifically, it is a drupe. Drupes are more commonly called stone fruits. Other stone fruits include peaches and nectarines; blackberries and raspberries are drupes comprised of aggregates of drupelets. This act does require coconut to be listed specifically. Ultimately, allergic reactions to coconut have been documented, but most patients with a tree nut allergy are able to tolerate it.
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The coconut tree Cocos nucifera is a member of the palm tree family Arecaceae and the only known living species of the genus Cocos. The term is derived from the 16th-century Portuguese and Spanish word coco , meaning "head" or "skull" after the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features. Coconuts are known for their versatility of uses, ranging from food to cosmetics. Coconuts are distinct from other fruits because their endosperm contains a large quantity of clear liquid,  called " coconut water " or "coconut juice". Mature, ripe coconuts can be used as edible seeds, or processed for oil and plant milk from the flesh, charcoal from the hard shell, and coir from the fibrous husk. Dried coconut flesh is called copra , and the oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking — frying in particular — as well as in soaps and cosmetics.
Is Coconut a Fruit or a Nut?
Coconuts are classified as a fibrous one-seeded drupe. A drupe is a fruit with a hard stony covering enclosing the seed (like a peach or olive) and comes from.
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