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Comparatively little is known about the origin and early distribution of the coconut palm, probably because it was so widely spread throughout the tropical areas of the world so many years ago. However, the coconut palm is believed to be native to the Malay Archipelago or the South Pacific. 2

This large, single-trunked palm has a smooth, columnar trunk with a light grayish-brown color; the trunk is topped with a terminal crown of leaves. Tall varieties may attain a height of 80 - 100 ft (24-31 m) while dwarf varieties are shorter in stature. The trunk is slender and often swollen at the base. The trunk is typically curved or leaning, but is erect in some cultivars.

The coconut is the most extensively grown and used nut in the world and the most important palm. 2

The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an archaic form of the word. 4