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U. P. W. Collection. Plate CX1II
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.
a. P. W. Collection. Plate C.N IV
This low tree, with its spreading branches, is a native of the West Indies, and is rarely met with in these Islands; there being but two trees of its kind known to me, one growing at the Old Plantation, Honolulu, the other at Honouliuli Ranch. Oahu. The whitish branches are very brittle. The leaves are obovate, oblong, glabrous above and shiny beneath. The subsessile flowers are whiteish-purple. The fruit, which is half inch in diameter, is bluntly pointed and smooth. The fleshy pulp is sticky, and adheres to the single seed. This plant may be grown from seeds and from cuttings.