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Plant Facts

Codo De Mer

Coco de Mer

The largest seed in the world is that of the giant fan palm Locoicea maldivica, commonly known as the double coconut or Coco de Mer. Producing the largest seeds in the plant kingdom (weighing up to 30kg), this giant of the plant world was known to sailors in the Indian Ocean long before its real home was discovered. Over the ages, seeds of this legendary palm were found washed up on deserted beaches or floating on the waves and they become known as the 'coconuts of the sea' appearing to come from some mythical oceanic plant. Their suggestive two-lobed form gave rise to many legends - including a belief that they possessed aphrodisiac powers. However, the plant now faces several threats: from over-collection, alien invasive species, and an increasing frequency of fires, which is being exacerbated by climate change.

The true home of this mysterious plant is the Seychelles, where only two populations remain in the wild. Much prized, Coco de Mer seeds have commanded high prices for centuries. Trade in the seeds is now closely controlled, but poaching remains a problem because of their high value on the tourist market. Although protected within National Parks, the two remaining populations are nevertheless threatened by fire and encroachment by invasive plants. Coco de Mer plants can be seen in various botanic gardens around the world and botanic gardens are key players in efforts to conserve the world's invaluable plant diversity.

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