Cocos australis Mart. Palmae.
Paraguay. This palm bears a fruit somewhat the shape and size of an acorn, with a pointed tip and is of a beautiful golden-yellow color somewhat tinged or spotted with red when ripe. At maturity, it is soft and pulpy, the flesh yellow, succulent and somewhat fibrous. The flavor is delicious, resembling that of a pineapple.
South America. This is the palma de vino of the Magdalena. This tree is cut down and a cavity excavated in its trunk near the top. In three days, this cavity is found filled with a yellowish-white juice, very limpid, with a sweet and vinous flavor. During 18 or 20 days, the palm-tree wine is daily collected; the last is less sweet but more alcoholic and more highly esteemed. One tree yields as much as 18 bottles of sap, each bottle containing 42 cubic inches, or about three and a quarter gallons.
Cocos coronata Mart.
Brazil. This species yields a pith, which the Indians make into bread, and a nut from which an oil is extracted.
Tropics. The centers of the geographical range of this palm are the islands and countries bordering the Indian and Pacific oceans but it is now extensively cultivated throughout the tropics. About 1330, it was described in India, and quite correctly too, under the name of nargil, by Friar Jordanus. In 1524, the cocoanut was seen by Pizarro in an Indian coast village of Peru. In the vicinity of Key West and as far north as Jupiter Inlet, the cocoanut is found, having been first introduced about 1840 by the wrecking of a vessel that threw a quantity of these nuts upon the beach. Thirty species of cocoanut are said by Simmonds to be described and named in the East. Firminger mentions ten varieties in India. Captain Cook found several sorts at Batavia. Ellis says there are many varieties in Tahiti. The nuts are much used as a food. When the embryo is unformed, the fruit furnishes sweet palm-milk, a further development supplies a white, sweet and aromatic kernel; it finally becomes still firmer and then possesses a pleasant, sweet oil. In the Fiji Islands, the kernel of the old nut is scraped, pressed through a grater, and the pulp thus formed is mixed with grasses and scented woods and suffered to stand in the sun, which causes the oil to rise to the top, when it is skimmed off. The residuum, called kora, is pounded or mashed, wrapped in banana leaves and then buried under salt water covered with piles of stones. This preparation is a common food of the natives. Toddy or palm-wine, is also made from the sap of the flower-spathes.
Cocos oleracea Mart. Iraiba Palm.
Brazil. The leaf-buds, or cabbages, are edible.
Cocos ventricosa Arruda.
Brazil. The oily pulp of the fruit and the almond of the inner stone is eaten and is sold in the markets. The pith contains a fecula which is extracted in times of want and is eaten.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.