The Sri Lankan Coconut tree... Truly the tree of life
The coconut tree has made Sri Lanka a particularly beautiful place. In Sri Lanka there are three varieties which are rather appropriately named the Dwarf, Tall and King variety. In general, a coconut tree can be found in many homes across Sri Lanka, especially in rural areas with their social and economic benefits being significant. The average Sri Lankan household (around 4 to 5 members) consumes about 6 coconuts a week, sometimes more. This makes having coconut trees planted an imperative to offset the cost of living for many in the community.
The trunk of the tree rises to a height up to 30m ending in a compact crown of 30-40 large feather like leaves. Each leaf is about 3-4m in length and consists of a leaf stalk, a midrib and a large number of leaflets arranged in tow opposite rows. The leaflets near the base of the leaf as well as near the apex are much shorter and narrower than those near the middle.
Each fruit has three coverings an outer shiny layer, the epicarp which is green to start with but becomes brown as the nut matures).
Inner to this is the husk, the mesocarp, which cushions the seed, acting like a spring which breaks the fall of the fruit. The husk is not damaged by salt water and the coconut can be carried to long distances by the sea because the coconut is adapted to floatation. Inside the husk is a hard woody shell, the endocarp.
Tovi Gifts use the endocarp which is often treated like a waste product to handcraft our beautiful coconut bowls! Truly an ecologically beneficial outcome of turning a waste product into a beautiful, functional and reusable product.
Coconut trees often produce their first fruit within six years and then go on producing for up to 80 years – they are a truly beneficial plantation crop. Within a coconut plantation many farmers also grow additional crops including ginger, turmeric, chilly, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove.
Why is the Coconut tree called ‘the Tree of Life’
Life is scared and so is the Coconut tree for many people in tropical countries across the world. It is one of the few trees that are helpful as a whole. Each and every part of the coconut tree has some use and value – and Tovi Gifts is focusing on creating value in the least used and often discarded part – the coconut shell.