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G. P. IF. Collection. PLate CXII
This interesting palm is seldom seen in Hawaii; there being but two specimens of its kind that have produced fruit in Honolulu. Its stem is capitately thickened at the persistent bases of the armed petioles. The glaucous leaves are pari-pinnate with narrow, lanceolate, accumulate segments, having a prominent mid-rib.
The inflorescence is simple and branching. The fruit is arranged similar to that of Cocos, each about three-fourths of an inch in diameter, sub-globose with a pointed apex. When ripe, it is a bright yellow, and its juicy, edible pulp has the flavor of apricots.
G. P. W. Collection. PLaTE CXIII
The original home of this widely-diffused tree is not positively known. Some writers say it is indigenous to the islands of the Indian Ocean; others show that in all probability it is of Ameriican origin. On account of its buoyant husk and impervious shell, it was enabled to drift across the oceans without losing its germinating power, and in this manner was widely dispersed. It is strictly a tropical plant, and grows naturally on the seashore, or in its immediate vicinity.
It has pinnate leaves about 12 to 18 feet long, and the inflorescense first appears in a cylindrical sheath, which splits lengthwise, exposing long sprays of male flowers, and near the base generally one female flower, which is much larger, and eventually develops into a fruit. The picture shows both forms of flowers, as well as a young nut, and also a mature cocoanut. Propagation is by means of the nut alone, which must be thoroughly ripe before planting. The outer husk must be left on, germination taking place at the largest eye; sometimes two eyes may sprout, and twin trees grow from these. Many varieties have been imported from islands of the Pacific, Ceylon. West Indies, and Central America. The cocoanut is not raised in Hawaii for commercial purposes.