The botanical name for coconut is Cocos nucifera and it is currently thought to have originated in the coastal areas of Southeast Asia and Melanesia. In prehistoric times, it spread naturally on ocean currents eastward to the tropical Pacific islands and westward to India and all the way to East Africa. Around 4,500 years ago, voyaging Polynesians and Indo-Malayans introduced their preferred forms to various Pacific islands.
Today, the coconut palm is found throughout the tropics. In the Pacific region, it continues to be an important economic and subsistence crop. Pacific islanders use almost every part of the coconut palm. It is a major source of food, oil, fiber, and wood.
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