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by : BTF

As I Wander...

Living in tropical Malaysia, we tend to take the hot humid weather, thundery rainstorms and the spectrum of wild evergreen plants as a given.

Recently, I noticed more exotic plants making its way into landscaped home gardens, recreational parks, frontages of shopping malls and
commercial buildings.

Along kerb sides of residential streets and busy motorways, palms, trees and flowering plants make pleasant and interesting fringes.

This is a record of the various species "as I see it" for I am in awe of palms. Hence, my premise for this blog is that the global garden,
i.e. every physical garden (tended or untended), becomes a part of my, simply said, cyber palm garden. ;-)

Please feel free to share your thoughts or comments.

Thank you for visiting!

ShaShinKi - Malaysia's Online Camera Shop!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Golden Malay Coconut Palm

Botanical Name: Cocos nucifera 'dwarf orange'

The most common and most recognizable palm of all in the tropics.  With most palms being found along coastal beaches and fossilized nuts being found as far as New Zealand, botanists believe that the early coconut palms originated somewhere around the Indian Ocean and the nuts were carried away by water to far and distant shores.  It is also known that India had cultivated these palms for more than 4000 years.

Found almost everywhere in Malaysia and especially so, along the coastal areas giving those spectacular postcard images of tropical sunrise/sunsets with their unmistakeable, romantic silhouettes, the coconut palm is one of the most useful palms in the world.

Today, I will chart the dwarf species of the orange coconut which is very attractive and rather different, apart from the general appearance, from the more common and commercially cultivated green coconut palms. In South America, this species is also known as the Amarillo Palm.

This short, cute version is great for landscaping of grounds as they are not likely to fall over nor have their fruits fall and crack someone else's nut!  So, overall its a pretty safe plant in terms of public liability. Yes, the fruits are low and easily picked, if needed.

What's already not to know about the coconut palm?  A single, solid trunk one could shimmy up to get to the fruits. Strong, deep green feather-like fronds which is used to weave into an assortment of traditional handicrafts.  Not forgetting the 'small spines' of the pinnately arranged leaves, the locals would shave away to make bunches of soft broomsticks or satay skewers.

                                                                                                        coarse weave au naturel fabric

                                                                        solid gold

The coconuts are orangy yellow throughout from young and the outer husks turn dusky golden brown when matured.

As youngsters, we would clamber up some slanted trunks to wrestle the nuts off from the palm - because we could, its lack of height and our lack of fear was never a problem with this species.  It's always wonderful company for any camping activities!

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