The World’s Largest Seed
Many years ago, when an unusually large seed washed ashore on islands of the Maldives and Indonesia, it captured the human imagination. Myths circulated about its origin. Some thought it came from an underwater tree. Thus, it was given the name Coco-De-Mer, or sea coconut. It was even believed to be the forbidden fruit that was eaten by Adam in the garden of Eden. However, the truth was finally discovered in the middle of the 18th century. This mysterious seed had come from a type of palm tree found only in the Seychelles, a small group of islands in the Indian Ocean.
The largest concentration of the Coco-De-Mer is found in the Vallée de Mai, on the island of Praslin. These palms can reach up to 100 feet [30 m] in height and are estimated to live for hundreds of years. One fascinating fact about the Coco-De-Mer is that it is dioecious; there are male trees and female trees. For the female to produce fruit, it must be pollinated by a male Coco-De-Mer. So mature trees from both genders must be present for the species to survive in the wild.
The fruit from the female Coco-De-Mer is truly one of a kind. On the tree it looks like a huge, green heart. But inside is a large double-lobed seed that can weigh up to 40 pounds [20 kg]. Some fruits have more than one seed. It is little wonder that the Coco-De-Mer has made it into The Guinness Book of Records as having the world’s largest seed.
Looking up at clusters of this boulderlike fruit puts one in awe of such a marvel of creation. It also puts one in a rather precarious situation. These clusters can weigh in at 400 pounds [180 kg]. Amazingly, though, there have been no reported casualties from falling fruit. Still, it is wise not to visit the Vallée de Mai during very stormy weather. This curious fruit is best admired under peaceful conditions.