Lodoicea, commonly known as the sea coconut, coco de mer, or double coconut

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Lodoicea, commonly known as the sea coconut, coco de mer, or double coconut

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Lodoicea, commonly known as the sea coconut, coco de mer, or double coconut, is a monotypic genus in the palm family.The sole species, Lodoicea maldivica, is endemic to the islands of Praslin and Curieuse in the Seychelles. The name of the genus, Lodoicea, is derived from Lodoicus, the Latinized form of Louis, in honour of King Louis XV of France. 

The fruit, which requires 6–7 years to mature and a further two years to germinate, is sometimes also referred to as the sea coconutlove nutdouble coconutcoco fesse, or Seychelles nut.

Formerly Lodoicea was known as Maldive coconut. Its scientific name, Lodoicea maldivica, originated before the 18th century when the Seychelles were uninhabited. In centuries past the coconuts that fell from the trees and ended up in the sea would be carried away eastwards by the prevailing sea currents. The nuts can only float after the germination process, when they are hollow. In this way many drifted to the Maldives where they were gathered from the beaches and valued as an important trade and medicinal item. This association is reflected in one of the plant's archaic botanical names, Lodoicea callipyge (callipyge is from Greek words meaning 'beautiful buttocks').

Until the true source of the nut was discovered in 1768 by Dufresne, it was believed by many to grow on a mythical tree at the bottom of the sea. European nobles in the sixteenth century would often have the shells of these nuts polished and decorated with valuable jewels as collectibles for their private galleries.

Seychelles - Late 19th or early 20th century

Overall height - 12” (30.48cm).

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