Coco tree of Shibpur flowered after 94 years!
Just imagine a 123-year-old about to deliver its first fruits! Scientists are waiting eagerly for the 123-year-old double coconut tree of Shibpur Botanical Gardens to give fruits for the first time. The tree is called Coco de mer and each of its seeds weighs around 25kg. This tree is rare, because it is not hermaphrodite, which is usual for palm trees. Instead, this tree is a female tree, which first flowered after 94 years in 1988. And now with assisted reproduction techniques it is about to fruit.
The tree was brought to the garden by Sir George King, superintendent of the garden, between 1871 and 1897 from Seychelles. He got two trees, of which one died and the other flourished. Scientists in the beginning did not understand the sex of the tree as most palms are hermaphrodite, but this tree came out to be a ‘she’ tree after it flowered for the first time in 94 years. However, it did not produce fruit and to help it to do so, scientists imported pollens of double coconut trees that otherwise do not grow in India, from Sri Lanka and Thailand. Conception finally happened in 2013, and any time now, the birth is expected.