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coco de mer

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

Coco de mer is a rare and unique species of palm tree that is native to the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean. It produces the largest seed in the plant kingdom, which can weigh up to 30 kg (66 lbs) and measure up to 50 cm (20 in) in diameter.

The Coco de mer has a distinctive shape that resembles a female pelvis, and its seeds have been coveted and traded for centuries for their supposed aphrodisiac properties. Because of their rarity and unusual shape, the seeds of the Coco de mer are highly valued as collectors' items and can fetch very high prices on the international market.

The Coco de mer tree is also an important symbol of the Seychelles, and is featured on the country's coat of arms and its banknotes. However, due to its limited distribution and vulnerability to habitat loss, the Coco de mer is classified as an endangered species and is protected by international conservation laws.

Coco de met palms are indigenous to Praslin and Curieuse Islands and can be enjoyed at the Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve on Praslin island.

The Coco de mer has a unique life cycle that takes several years to complete. Here are the key stages in the life cycle of the Coco de mer:

  1. Germination: The Coco de mer seed germinates in the soil, and the initial shoot emerges from the soil after about a year.

  2. Seedling stage: The young Coco de mer plant grows slowly at first, taking several years to reach a height of about 30 cm (12 in). During this stage, the plant has only a few leaves and does not yet produce flowers.

  3. Vegetative stage: After about 15 years, the Coco de mer enters its vegetative stage, during which it produces a large number of leaves and begins to grow more rapidly.

  4. Reproductive stage: The Coco de mer reaches sexual maturity at around 25 to 30 years of age, at which point it begins to produce male and female flowers. The male flowers are borne on a large inflorescence, or flower cluster, while the female flowers are borne on a smaller inflorescence. The pollination of the female flowers is carried out by a specific type of beetle.

  5. Fruit development: After pollination, the female flowers develop into large, fleshy fruit that can take up to 7 years to mature. The fruit contains one or two seeds, which are the famous Coco de mer nuts.

  6. Seed dispersal: When the fruit is ripe, it falls to the ground and the seeds are dispersed by water or animals. The seeds are encased in a hard, fibrous shell that protects them during their journey.

  7. Unlike other Seychelles palms, the male and female flowers of the coco de mer are borne on separate trees.


The life cycle of the Coco de mer is slow and complex, and it can take up to 100 years for a single plant to complete its life cycle. This, combined with its rarity and unusual appearance, is what makes the Coco de mer such a special and valuable species.


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