Coco de mer palms go extravagant on a tight budget
The secret behind the world’s largest seed and its sexually extravagant plant is good gutters.
A prodigy among those seeds can weigh as much as 18 kilograms, about the weight of a 4-year-old boy. Yet the plant that outdoes the rest of the botanical world in the heft of its seed manages with below-poverty nutrition. Coco-de-mer palms (Lodoicea maldivica) are native to two islands in the Seychelles that have starved, rocky soil.
Despite the scarcity of resources, a palm forest is “magnificent — it’s like a dinosaur could come around the corner,” says Christopher Kaiser-Bunbury of the Seychelles Islands Foundation. Wind jostling acres of stiff leaves makes a sound he describes as “crackling.”