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Length: 37 cm.
Width: 28 cm.
Height: 16 cm.
The Coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica) is a palm endemic to the islands of Praslin and Curieuse in the Seychelles. The fruit, which requires 6-7 years to mature and a further two years to germinate, is sometimes also referred to as the sea coconut, double coconut, coco fesse, or Seychelles nut.
The Seychelles nut was once believed to be a sea-bean or drift seed, a seed designed to be dispersed by the sea. However, it is now known that the viable nut is too heavy to float, and only rotted out nuts can be found on the sea surface; this explains why the trees are limited in range to just two islands.
Until the true source of nut was discovered in 1768, it was believed by many to grow on a mythical tree at the bottom of the sea; European nobles in the sixteenth century would often have the shells of these nuts cleaned and decorated with valuable jewels as collectibles for their private galleries. The coco de mer is now a rare protected species.
The sailors who first saw the nut floating in the sea imagined that it resembled a woman's buttocks. This fanciful association is reflected in one of the plant's archaic botanical names, Lodoicea callipyge Comm. ex J. St.-Hil., in which callipyge is from Greek words meaning 'beautiful rump'.