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Introduction > Dwarf Plam > Tall Plam > Dwarf Varieties > Tall Varieties > Hybrids > Other Varieties >

Ikisan - Varieties of Coconut


  • Although good varieties of coconuts have been known to exist in the different coconut growing countries of the world, no serious attempts were made to collect them and study them in detail at a representative centre with a view to classify them systematically.
  • Most of the varieties are generally known by the name of the locality where they are grown.
  • In some cases, the same variety is known by different names in different countries.
  • About 50 years ago some of the important varieties from reputed coconut tracts of India and nearby countries were obtained by the Departments of Agriculture of Madras and former Travancore - Cochin States and tried at their respective coconut farms in the West Coast of India (Kerala).
  • Variety is generally a term designated to denote a single strain or a group of strains which distinctly differ in structural and functional characters from one another or a group of the same species which can be depended upon to reproduce itself true to type.
  • The cross-pollination prevailing in the coconut has given rise to a highly variable progeny of palms.
  • The promiscuous crossing occurring in the coconut is responsible for giving rise to a large scale multiplication of single genetically heterozygous varieties widely varying from each other or groups of closely related varieties.
  • In certain regions particularly in some of the islands isolated from each other certain type suited to the locality with well defined, relatively constant phenotypic characters were found evolved possibly through generations of natural selection.
  • Coconut being a seed propagated crop, requiring an unusually long period of pre-bearing life, the evolution of promising varieties through breeding became a difficult and time-consuming project


Ikisan - Coconut Dwarf palm

Dwarf Palm

  • As the name indicates, the dwarf coconut is small in stature and commences bearing earlier than the tall variety.
  • Dwarf coconut palms flower as early as the third year after planting and come to regular bearing in the ninth year, i.e. in about six years of first bearing.
  • The origin of the dwarf variety has not been determined so far with any degree of accuracy.
  • These are mutant from the tall or common form due to some change in genetic factors taking place at wright intervals leading to production of palms with pronounced size differences.
  • These were reported to occur where large coconut areas exist and in widely distributed places.
  • Although dwarf palms came into bearing early and yielded well, the copra was inclined to be softner, more pliable and leathery and not quite of such good quality as in that from tall From these it is difficult to prepare hard copra and usually a large proportion of wrinkled, distorted and rubbery copra is produced.

The Dwarf Variety

  • The Dwarf or short variety which has three distinct forms, namely, those producing green, orange and yellow nuts, is liked by some planters for its earliness in bearing and short stature and attractive colour of the nuts.
  • The Dwarf palms are commonly known as Nicobar or Andaman Dwarf and also by certain local names.
  • They begin to yield nuts in about three to three and half years after planting and throw out bunches with fairly large number of nuts.
  • The palms are, however, irregular in bearing and susceptible to drought.
  • The bunches with attractive, coloured nuts are generally used for decorative purposes.
  • The nuts are small in size and ovoid or round in shape.
  • They are often harvested in the tender nut stage for the sweet water which provides a cool and refreshing drink.
  • The copra obtained from the nut weighs about 3 oz (85 gm) with 65 per cent oil content.
  • It is leathery and is not of much commercial importance.
  • For these reasons it is considered as an uneconomic variety.
  • Dwarf types from Malaya, Nigeria, Ceylon and certain other places have been introduced at the Central Coconut Research Station, Kasaragod and are under study.


Ikisan - Coconut tall palm

Tall Palm

  • This is the ordinary or the common tall variety of palms most extensively grown on a plantation scale in all coconut tracts of the world.
  • It is a long lived palm living generally to an age of about 80 to 90 years, although sometimes older trees are also met with.
  • The palms thrive well under different soil conditions varying from littoral sands to red loams and laterites and also under varying climatic and rainfall conditions.
  • It is observed to grow well up to an altitude of 3,000 ft. above the sea level. It is fairly resistant to diseases and pests.
  • The tree attains a height of about 15cm to 18cm or more.
  • It begins to bear in about 8 to 10 years after planting.
  • The palms of this variety are generally cross-pollinated in nature, although, in summer months there exist chances of self pollination due to the overlapping of spadices.
  • After pollination, the nuts mature in a period of 12 months.
  • The nut is medium to big in size varying in shape from spheroid to linear-oblong and with colours varying from green, yellow and orange to shades of brown.
  • The quality and quantity of copra form nuts of this variety are satisfactory.
  • About 6,000 nuts yield a ton of copra.
  • These are generally the palms recommended for large scale planting as they are superior to the dwarf palms

The West Coast Variety

  • Of the varieties of coconut available in India, the West Coast variety, which is otherwise known as the ordinary or common Tall variety, is the one that is extensively cultivated in all the important coconut tracts of India and is of commercial importance.
  • This variety is found to grow well in littoral sand as well as in the interior and up to an altitude of about 3,000 feet above sea level.
  • It has been in cultivation in India from very ancient times and may, therefore, be considered as indigenous to the country.
  • The West Coast variety is a long-lived, hardy, multipurpose palm, yielding nuts, copra, oil and fibre of good quality.
  • The tree also yields, on tapping, good quantity and quality of coconut juice or toddy which can be fermented or converted into jaggery or sugar.
  • In this variety, growers recognize different sub-varieties or forms based mostly on the colour and shape of nuts or bearing capacity.
  • The nuts of this variety are generally of medium size, varying in shape from spheroid to linear with colour varying from green, yellow, yellow-orange to shades of brown.
  • Some of the forms show variation in the thickness of the husk and thickness of meat or kernel.
  • Trees yielding large number of medium-sized round nuts in almost every leaf axil without any tendency for the bunches to buckle or droop, are considered the best for planting on a large scale.
  • The West Coast variety commences to yield in about six to eight years after planting when grown under favourable conditions.
  • The time of first bearing may, however, be prolonged to ten to fifteen years or even more if conditions are unfavourable or adverse.
  • The yield varies according to the ecotypes selected for cultivation and the conditions under which they are grown.
  • The average yield of copra per nut is about 142 gm and the oil content in the copra is about 72 per cent by chemical extraction on dry basis.


Ikisan - Coconut Dwarf varieties in India

Dwarf Varieties In India

  1. Chowghat dwarf : The dwarf types, Chowghat green and orange are delicate and shortlived. They are easily susceptible to diseases and pests. The out-turn of copra is low and the quality is also poor. Chowghat dwarf green maintains high purity, while in dwarf orange both self and cross pollination occur.
  2. Laccadive and Maldive dwarf : These are dwarf types of the Laccadive and Maldive Islands. They yield on an average not more than 50 nuts per tree per annum. They give good copra both in quality and in quantity. The copra content per nut is about 115 gm to 145gm and the percentage of oil in the copra is about 71.
  3. Andaman dwarf : This is a dwarf type from the Andaman Islands. It is a poor yielder. The copra content per nut is about 145 gm and the oil content in the copra is about 63 per cent.
  4. Chenangi : This is dwarf type from Andhra.
  5. Gangabondam : This belongs to the 'medium dwarf' or 'semi-tall' type. The time of first bearing occurs in about four years after planting. The nut matures in eleven months. It is a prolific yielder. The nuts are elongated in shape, medium sized and have fairly thick kernel. They give good quality copra. The copra content per nut is about 230 gm and oil percentage in the copra is about 72.


Ikisan - Coconut tall varieties in India

Tall Varieties In India


  • This is allied to the ordinary tall type, but is more robust in all characters particularly in the size of the nut which is one of the largest on record.
  • The shape of the nut is broadly ellipsoid.
  • The yield is rather low being about 60 nuts per palm per year.
  • Quantity of copra is high and copra is thick and hard.
  • This type is met with in parts of South Malabar (India).

Andaman Giant

  • This is a type from the Andaman Islands.
  • The palms are of tall stature, massive proportions and majestic appearance.
  • The nuts are green and large, perhaps one of the largest on record but the yield is poor.
  • Though the content is high, the copra is thin and of poor quality.
  • It comes to bearing in about eight years after planting.
  • The palms are resistant to diseases.


  • This is a medium type.
  • It resembles the Andaman Giant in all respects, except in stature.
  • It is a good yielder of toddy.

Laccadive ordinary

  • This type resembles the ordinary tall variety.
  • The average yield under ordinary conditions is about 127 nuts per palm per year.
  • The copra content is 155 gm and oil content in the copra is 72 per cent.

Laccadive medium

  • In this type the nut is comparatively smaller in size than Laccadive ordinary.
  • The average yield is about 182 nuts per palm per year and the average copra content is about 85 gm to 115gm with an oil content of 75 per cent.

Laccadive micro

  • Here the nuts are very small compared to those of the above mentioned types.
  • The yield is about 160 nuts per tree per year.
  • The average copra content is about 80gm to 95gm per nut with an oil content of 75 per cent.

Thairu thengai

  • There are certain palms among the tall type of the West Coast, which are locally known as Thairu thengai (curd coconut).
  • In the nut there is no milk but it is completely filled with a jelly of the consistency of thick curd from which the name is derived.
  • The kernel is not hard to make copra but it is good for eating.
  • These nuts do not germinate but a few in every bunch produced by such trees are quite normal and when planted may give rise to trees of this type.


  • Among the tall palms of the West Coast three is a variety called Kaithathali which is rare.
  • It has a soft fleshy husk.
  • In the tender nut, the fibres are so poorly developed that the husk is sometimes eaten raw and is said to be a very good antidote against sea-sickness.


  • This variety is quite distinct from the ordinary coconut palm in having no branches or spikes in the inflorescence.
  • In this variety, femaleness is most and maleness least expressed, because the number of male flowers is as low as 50.
  • The setting percentage is very low.
  • The mature nut is smaller than the ordinary variety.
  • It is found that about 50 per cent of the progeny of this variety breed true to type.
  • It is also found to cross freely with other coconut varieties.
  • This variety is found to be useless for tapping.
  • It has been described as a distinct botanical variety, i.e, variety spicata.


  • This is a distinct type from Andhra.
  • The nuts are big and oblong in shape.
  • This type gives good tender nuts with sweet water.
  • The copra content per nut is about 168 gm.

Verri kobbari

  • This type from Andhra is found to be almost similar to the Laccadive small.
  • The nuts are small, oblong and tapering both ends.
  • The copra content per nut varies from 85 gm to 115 gm.

Rangoon kobbari

  • This type from Andhra appears similar to the Andaman Giant.
  • The nuts are big and oblong.
  • The copra content per nut is very high varying from 255 gm to 280 gm.


Ikisan - Coconut Hybrids


  • Some progenies of the Dwarf Orange type which are considered as natural crosses are found to turn out to be Semi-Talls and give good yield of nuts and copra of good quality.
  • The seedlings which give rise to these off-type palms are conspicuous in the nursery by their vigorous growth, height, early splitting of leaflets and petiole colour, which are quite distinct from those of the pure Dwarf seedlings.
  • Artificial crosses between the ordinary Tall variety and the Dwarf variety have resulted in the production of economic hybrids.
  • The Tall (female) X Dwarf (male) hybrids are produced at the Coconut Research Stations at Kasaragod and Nileshwar.
  • These hybrids combine in them the early bearing character of the Dwarf with the desirable copra character of the Tall.
  • They are also short in stature and give fairly high yields.
  • The nuts, however, are small when compared to those of the Tall variety.
  • Consequently, the hybrids may not be liked by the coconut growers who realise a good income from the sale of raw husks required for retting purposes for the production of good quality coir yarn.
  • Of the two Dwarf types, Orange and Green, the Orange Dwarf appears to be a better male parent for the production of promising hybrids.
  • Crosses between some of the Semi Talls and Talls have also given rise to economic hybrids.
  • Studies made so far have indicated the need for selection of the parents on the basis of economic transmissible characters for the production of good hybrids.
  • It has however, to be pointed out that the progenies of hybrid palms should not be indiscriminately planted as they will segregate for the parental characters and give rise to undesirable dwarf palms.

Godavari Ganga(Hybrid)

  • It is a hybrid between East coastal tall as female parent and Ganga bondam as male parent.
  • This variety is developed by scientists of Agricultural Research station, Ambajipet, upto now 2 lack seedlings are supplied for cultivation in Andhra Pradesh.
  • On National wide this variety can be recommended for A.P and Tamil Nadu states.
  • This variety starts bearing from 6th year and yields on an average of 140 fruits per tree. This hybrid contains copra of 15 grm and oil content of 68%.


Ikisan - Other Varieties of Coconut

Other Varieties

Laccadive Ordinary

  • This variety resembles the ordinary West Coast variety. The nuts are medium-sized. The yield per tree per annum is about 124 nuts. The copra content is about 142 gm and the oil content in the copra is 72 per cent.

Laccadive Small

  • The palm resembles the ordinary West Coast variety in stature, but the nuts are definitely small-sized and spheroid or linear in shape.
  • Large number of nuts are produced in a bunch and the copra is of good quality. The palm is, however, an alternate bearer and produces not less than 150 nuts per tree per year.
  • The copra content is only 57 gm but the oil content of the copra is as high as 75 per cent.

New Guinea

  • This is a robust palm with tall and stout trunk. The nuts are large, spheroid or ellipsoid in shape, the colour varying from green to brown.
  • The nuts contain plenty of sweet water in the tender nut stage. The quality of the copra is not as good as that of the West Coast variety.
  • The palm yields, on an average, in the gravelly soil of the West Coast, about 65 nuts per tree per year.
  • It has a copra content of about 227 gm and an oil content of 66 per cent.

Cochin China

  • This is a robust palm giving nuts which are large-sized, spheroid in shape and coloured green to shades of brown.
  • The water in the tender nut is sweet and plentiful. It yields about 86 nuts per tree per year.
  • The copra is of fair quality and weighs about 227 gm per nut and has an oil content of 66 per cent.


  • This is a tall variety with fairly stout trunk. The nuts are medium to large in size and round of somewhat elongated in shape.
  • It yields about 95 nuts per tree per year. The copra is of good quality. It has a copra content of 198 gm and an oil content of 66 per cent.


  • This is a fairly robust palm. The nuts are green in colour and medium to large in size and ellipsoid in shape.
  • The water in the tender nut is sweet. The palm yields about 50 nuts per tree per year.
  • The copra is of good quality and weights about 227 gm per nut. The oil content of copra is 74 per cent.


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