The coco de mer of Seychelles

This article is also available in: Italiano

The world’s largest coconut comes from the Seychelles and preserves incredible myths and traditions. In ancient times it was considered the home of the Simurgh or Garuda, today it is instead considered one of the aphrodisiacs par excellence.

The legend of the marine coconut

Since the arrival of the first men on the Maldives, we had come across particular coconuts, unique in shape and size, which were believed to have even come from the depths of the sea. The weight, which can easily reach 20 kg, made the illusion that it was an incredible marine tree, from whose walnut an immense palm tree would then be generated on which a Garuda or a Simurgh would eventually find refuge.

coconut

Just for fear of such beasts (in “The Thousand and One Nights” similar birds bring elephants as lunch for their young), for a long time no extensive research was done on this plant, combined with the fact that, being endemic only to the Praslin and Curieuse islands in the Seychelles archipelago, none he had never seen her before. These islands were in fact known by various Muslim populations, so much so that there are some tombs on the island, but they were never relevant either by trade or by location, to the point that they were never inhabited on a permanent basis. However, the situation changed starting from 1756, the year in which the French permanently occupied the archipelago by virtue of a complicated game of colonial expansionism.

From divine to aphrodisiac

With the arrival of the transalpines, in a few years the mythical origin of the sea coconut was understood, so much so that Jean Duchemin in 1769 reached the island of Praslin carrying with him a huge load of precious nuts, thus bringing its value to a irreparable collapse from which it no longer arises. The discovery of the Maldivian Lodoicea (this is the scientific name of the “sea coconut”) did nothing but shift the attention from the nut to the reproductive process, which is still partly mysterious today.

coconut

Having this plant of the particularly anthropomorphic sexual organs, in a very short time we were convinced that it also had aphrodisiac qualities, leading to a great reaffirmation on the market. The last famous figure to believe these properties was Charles Gordon, the famous British general of the Victorian era, who was convinced that the island of Praslin was the lost Paradise and the Coconut of the sea the “forbidden fruit“. Since then, the fame of this particular coconut has had moments of greater and lesser fame, without ever ceasing to be known by the whole world.

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