Coconut (narikel) large, hard-shelled seed of the coco palm, Cocos nucifera of the family Palmae, a tree widely distributed through tropical regions growing to a height of 8-30 m, with a smooth cylindrical stem marked by ringlike scars of former leaves. A well-cared palm may yield 200 or more fruits annually. In Bangladesh, the plant is cultivated as a homestead plant not only for fruits and multipurpose uses, but also as an avenue plant.
The chief uses of the nut is the endosperm which is eaten raw or used in confectionery, and in various types of foodstuff and sweets. The dried copra is used for the preparation of vegetable oil, which has enormous industrial uses; the pressed oil cake is used for livestock. The husk of fruit or coir is used for making mats, rope and brushes. The stony shell is used as fire material and charcoal. Green and dried leaves are used for making mats, baskets, and thatching. The tender nuts are in great demand as a delicious and refreshing drink.
Young fruits are also important as one of the ingredients for plant tissue culture medium. The stems are used in rafters, bridge-poles, house posts and spear-handles. The area under coconut production is about 31,600 ha, the total production being about 96,000 m tons. [Mostafa Kamal Pasha]