Types of dwarf coconuts

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Types of dwarf coconuts
Coconut palms: from short to tall. (Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

The official title of the palm tree on which coconuts grow is Cocos nucifera. The tree comes in two varieties: tall and dwarf. The former grow to heights of around 24.3 metres (80 feet). The latter rarely exceed 10.6 metres (35 feet) in height. The statistics of the trees have no bearing on the sizes of the coconuts they produce, however. The coconut takes its name from Portuguese terminology meaning "monkey." The reason is simple: the colour and size of a coconut resembles the head of a monkey. Dwarf coconuts are found in many places, including India, Brazil, the Philippines, and Fiji.

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The dwarf coconuts of India

In India, there are two types of dwarf coconut. They are the chowghat orange and the ganga bondam. The chowghat orange palm tree typically starts to flower after around four years. It is common for this particular dwarf coconut tree to provide a yearly yield of more than 60 coconuts. Its coconuts are noted for their sugary water. Ganga bondam coconuts contain significant amounts of coconut oil. The water and the oil of both types of dwarf coconut are used as food items in India. Health experts warn against over-indulgence, as both are high in saturated fats.

Types of dwarf coconuts
Sugary water and saturated fats. (Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

The healthiest dwarf coconut of all

Brazil is home to a dwarf coconut called the Brazilian green. It takes its name from its bright green, outer skin. Its flesh is very soft, while its water is extremely sweet. The Brazilian green is one of the healthiest of all the various dwarf coconuts. It is completely lacking in cholesterol and, unlike some coconuts, has a low-fat content. The Brazilian green coconut is rich in electrolytes. This makes it an excellent source of hydration and rehydration. The Brazilian green is also high in potassium and magnesium.

Philippine coconuts

Two kinds of dwarf coconut grow in the Philippines. They are the mangipod green and the pilipog. The mangipod green is a popular food item on the Philippines. The palm tree on which the mangipod green grows is renowned for producing large amounts of coconut. The pilipog is noted for its bright colours. The casing of the pilipog is of a distinct, light green colour. Its roots and shoots display bright pink colouring at their tips. It, too, is much sought after for its flesh, oil, and water.

From Sri Lanka to Fiji

The niu leka coconut is native to Fiji. Although the palm tree itself is dwarfish in height, its trunk displays the thickness of a tall coconut tree. The casing of the niu leka is covered in coarse fibres that are used in the making of rope. The dwarf king coconut of Sri Lanka is believed to possess significant healing properties. Islanders say that its oil can help lessen the appearance of burns to the skin. It is also widely believed on Sri Lanka that the oil of this particular coconut can soften facial wrinkles.

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