Are Palm trees coconut trees?

Last Modified

March 13, 2023 by Hirah Ehsan

Are you one of those who believe that palm trees and coconut trees are the same? To your surprise, you are wrong. The fact; coconut and palm trees share the same ancestors is true but extensive research reveals that palm and coconut trees are different.

Being said, they both belong to the same class. But palm trees don’t produce coconuts. What does it mean?

Generally, a palm tree is included in the Palmaceae class. However, there are a total of 230 families and 3000 species of this class. Coconut and palm trees somehow share some similarities but they have different shapes, structures, and life span.

For instance, coconut trees last for 60-80 years. On the other hand, palm trees have a lifespan of 150 years. Similarly, they also differ in their requirements for growth and nourishment.

Not so many people are aware of the differences both the trees have, stay tuned to explore what I have collected for you through extensive study and experiment.

Are Palm trees coconut trees?

Would you mind if I say the answer to this question is no? “Any coconut tree can be a palm tree, but not all palm trees are coconut trees”. It’s that simple.

However, there is one exception Cocos nucifera, a family of palm trees, that bears coconuts. But this one example can’t be generalized. They both may be generically identical but both of them possess contrastive features.

What is the difference between coconut trees and palm trees?

Most people ask this common question but can’t authentic answer. So I’m going to give you a brief account of the differences between both plants.

As far as their existence and growth are concerned they both are found in South Asia in large amounts. Their wood, oil, and fruit are used for commercial purposes.

Shape of Leaves

Firstly they both can be identified based on their physical structures. The leaves of palm trees are called fronds because they have one single origin and grow from that.

Also, the length of leaves differs from specie to specie in palm trees. However, the leaves of the coconut tree are wider in shape.

Growth and Shape of Trunks

The trunk of the coconut tree is gray. It is more smooth than palm trees. The trunk of coconut trees is wider at the bottom and has a slight curve.

In addition, palm trees have thick and hard trunks. They are quite rough because they have sharp scales on them.

The leaves of coconut trees grow up to 18 feet long and 6 feet wide. Also, the average life span of leaves is 2-3 years. However, the average length of a palm’s leaves is 10 feet.

But the leaves of palm trees can be divided into two types. One is narrow in shape and grows out from the stem. The other grows out at the tip of a stem.

An interesting fact is that the leaves of coconut trees are deciduous trees; shed their leaves at a specific time where as palm trees stay forever green.

Fruit and Oil

Secondly, as the name indicates coconut trees bear coconut. They are grown for selling coconuts. On the other hand, palm trees give palm oil.

Difference in lifespan

Thirdly, experts say that palm trees have more life span than coconut trees. The growth pace of coconut trees is also slow and it lasts for 60-70 years. However, palm trees live up to 150 years.

In other words, coconut trees live for three generations whereas palm trees live up to 7-6 decades. But it has been observed that the life span of palm trees depends on the type of species it belongs to. Some palm trees have a life span of 70-100 years.

Growth of Roots

It might be surprising to you but the roots of coconut trees are 1cm deep only. However, the roots of palm trees are 30-40 inches deep. The roots spread widely under the grown to absorb water and nutrients.

Climatic Conditions

The climatic requirement of both plants is different. Coconut trees grow well in a hot climate. They are often found in Florida and Hawaii. The growth of the coconut tree is affected if the climate is more than 20F.

On the contrary, palm trees are seen in California and Arizona due to favorable climatic conditions. palm trees thrive and bloom in humid environments. The moisture of tropical and sub-tropical environments is best for its growth.

What are Palm and Coconut Trees?

Any tropical tree having long, straight trunks with large leaves at the top is considered a palm tree. Palm trees can be divided into 2500 species. This division depends on the individual characteristics of trees.

Some of the trees produce fruits. For instance date palm, peach palm, oil palm, and coconut palm. Therefore, palm trees are preferred due to their agricultural benefits.

Coconut trees are included in the types of palm trees that produce coconut. Coconut is identified through its layers. It has three layers; the outer layer, middle layer, and endocarp layer.

Furthermore, the coconut gets mature slowly and gradually in a favorable environment. The inner part turns brown and contains water which is named coconut water. This water is highly beneficial for human beings as it contains enough nutrients.

What Type of Palm Tree has Coconuts?

The name of main species of palm tree that bears coconut are called Cocos nucifera. Generally, palm trees bearing coconuts can be divided into two categories; tall coconut trees and dwarf coconut trees.

Tall coconut trees are larger in size and height. As the name says dwarf trees are smaller in size. Moreover, tall coconut trees grow through pollination, so they are dependent on other trees for their growth.

However, both types are responsible for producing coconuts, but different in shape, size, and taste.

Other palm trees that produce coconuts are Macapuno coconut, East coast Tall coconut, Malayan yellow dwarf coconut, King coconut, Fiji dwarf coconut, and Maypan coconut.

Final Thoughts

So, I hope all your queries have been answered. Now you have become well aware of the differences between two plants. No matter which plant you grow both have their beauty and benefits but they are different.

All the aforementioned information is well-researched. Now it’s time to go and explore it on your own. Good luck!

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