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Pine martens


Coco de mer

© Liz Sheffield

Perhaps the biggest seeds most of us will have encountered are from the coconut tree (Cocos nucifera). The coconuts many of us are familiar with can have a mass of up to 1.5 kilograms. But they are dwarfed by the seeds of the coco de mer, French for ‘coconut of the sea’. The name was coined by Malay seafarers, who saw the seeds rising to the surface of the sea and assumed, incorrectly, that they came from an underwater palm. (Those seeds would have rotted inside to become hollow, causing them to float.)

This rare tree is endemic to the Praslin and Curieuse islands of the Seychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The seeds can have a mass of up to 30 kilograms – the same as an average 10-year-old child. The botanical name for the plant is Lodoicea callipyge, from the Greek meaning ‘voluptuous buttocks’, reflecting the unusual size and shape of its seeds.

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Pine martens

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