SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cocos nucifera
FAMILY: Arecaceae

The Gai coconut, which grows on Torres Strait Island, is an unusual coconut that would have to be put in the rare fruit category. Also known as the sweet coconut, this fruit has an edible husk when the fruit is up to full size, but not yet mature. It will eventually become too fibrous.

The flavour of the husk has been compared to heart of palm - sweet, tender and crunchy. The shell is also edible when the fruit is very immature. There is no tannin in the husk as with other coconuts.

The fruit is very easy to open, and also splits easily on falling so should be picked before this stage.

The Gai coconut is a large fruit on a tree identical to the common tall coconut. It naturally hybridises with C. nucifera so seednuts for planting would have to come from hand-pollinated material or they would not be true to type.

Extract from Cardwell/Johnstone Newsletter No.16 December, 1989

DATE: May 1990

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