21 October 2010

New book on coconut varieties and genetic resources


New book !

Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.
By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

PRICE: 30 Euros - 42 USD
(Including shipping worldwide)
SIZE: 21X 27 CM - 104 PAGES
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0
FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2

Editions Diversiflora, Montpellier

Whether a symbol of the South Seas or a dream of tropical holidays, the coconut palm is first and foremost a plant grown, and also consumed, by millions of farmers and gardeners. In this book, 34 important coconut varieties from 18 different countries are each depicted with a plate of exquisite photographs and a one-page text describing their main uses and agronomic traits. But this book is more than a simple catalogue of coconut varieties. It also explains the botany and history of the coconut palm, and describes the ethnology of those who cultivate it. Did you know, for instance, that before the Europeans arrived, Tahitian healers used a piece of coconut shell taken at a very precise stage of growth called "Nia" to repair skull fractures? that, little by little, the bone welded onto the fragment ? Did you know that the heart of the coconut palm has a flavour resembling fresh hazelnut and is eaten under the name of "millionaire's salad"? who other than a millionaire would be remiss enough to kill a coconut palm just for one meal ? Did you know that, as early as 1642, a edict issued by Governor General H. de Corcuera ordered each native of the Philippines to plant 200 coconut trees? Did you know that the water from fresh coconuts, which offers the advantage of being sterile, was also used in recent wartime to replace blood serum for transfusions? Did you know that, In human terms, coconut research calls for considerable patience, or even a degree of stoicism, because most of the field experiments last at least 12 years? This book displays many other amazing anecdotes about this mythical palm. It is an indispensable reference for those who search having a general knowledge about agriculture and ethnology in the tropical coastal zones and islands.


Editions Diversiflora
Parc des Graves,
1444 Route de Mende, Esc G, appt 169
34090 Montpellier France
Tel. : +(33) 06 14 85 97 58Fax : +(33) 4 67 52 75 39
Email :  roland.bourdeix@cirad.fr

05 October 2010

Nouveau livre: Cocotier: guide des variétés traditionnelles et améliorées.


Nouveau livre !

Cocotier: guide des variétés traditionnelles et améliorées.

Par R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

PRIX: 30 Euros - 42 USD
(Expédition comprise)

Editions Diversiflora, Montpellier
21X 27 cm- 104 PAGES
Version anglaise: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0
Version française: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2

Résumé

Symbole des mers du Sud ou rêve de vacances tropicales, le cocotier est d’abord et surtout une plante cultivée et aussi consommée par des millions d’agriculteurs et de jardiniers. Ce livre décrit trente-quatre des variétés de cocotier parmi les plus plantées au monde. Ces variétés, bien que toutes conservées ou testées en Côte d’Ivoire, sont originaires de dix huit pays répartis dans toute la zone tropicale. Chacune d’entre elles est décrite à l’aide d’une planche de superbes photographies et d’une page de texte précisant ses usages et ses caractéristiques agronomiques. Mais ce livre n’est pas seulement un catalogue variétal. Saviez vous, par exemple, que les anciens guérisseurs tahitiens se servaient de coques de cocotier pour opérer les fractures du crâne ? Que ces fragments de coques se soudaient aux os du crâne et permettait à l’opéré de vivre normalement ? Qu’au Sri Lanka, on dit que le cocotier est utilisé de quatre-vingt-dix-neuf façons différentes, mais que l’on ne manquera pas d’en trouver une centième ? Qu’un chercheur en génétique du cocotier doit avoir une patience à toute épreuve, car chaque expérience au champ dure au moins douze ans ? Que vous vous asseyez quotidiennement sur du cocotier, plus précisément sur des fibres d’enveloppe de noix de coco, la bourre, qui constitue partie de l’assise des sièges de voiture ? Qu’en Europe, de nombreux légumes sont cultivés hors sol sur de la fibre de coco, qui a remplacé la laine de verre, beaucoup trop polluante ? Ce livre traite aussi de la botanique et de l’histoire du cocotier, ainsi que de l’ethnologie de ceux qui le cultivent. Au fil des siècles, les plus curieuses anecdotes se sont accumulées à propos de cette plante légendaire... Ce livre constitue une référence incontournable pour ceux qui aspirent à une culture générale sur l’agriculture et l’ethnologie des zones côtières et insulaires des tropiques.

Editions Diversiflora
Parc des Graves,
1444 Route de Mende, Esc G, appt 169
34090 Montpellier France
Tel. : +(33) 06 14 85 97 58Fax : +(33) 4 67 52 75 39
Email : roland.bourdeix@cirad.fr, roland.bourdeix@cefe.cnrs.fr

05 January 2006

Coconut research and coconut uses






Click on the pictures
to enlarge them !





From the book:

Coconut. A guide to traditional
and improved varieties.

By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

Editions Diversiflora, Montpellier
Size: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0

FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2


For millennia, man has tried to create and preserve coconut varieties that best suited his needs. This empirical work is far from easy. It requires monitoring over several years: Tall coconut palms often flower after five years, which is long enough to risk forgetting where the seednut came from. A coconut palm selected for its yield undergoes uncontrolled crossing with any of its neighbours; quite often, unless by a stroke of luck, the characteristics being sought are not found in the progeny. Despite these problems, this patient empirical work down through the centuries has led to the creation of several hundred varieties in Asia and the Pacific.
At the end of the nineteenth century, estates were set up with coconuts imported from a place renowned for its yields. In most cases, the seednuts were chosen for their appearance: some preferred large, heavy fruits, others fruits or medium size and somewhat spherical in shape. In brief, all acted according to their own personal and subjective convictions.
Scientific research on the coconut palm began around 1905, first in India, then in the Philippines, Fiji Islands, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The first genetic work focused on improving Tall coconut varieties existing around the research stations. The first controlled pollinations were carried out in India. The agronomist H. Marechal, who crossed the Malayan Red Dwarf and the Niu Leka Dwarf in the Fiji Islands as early as 1926 is considered to be the father of the first coconut hybrids. The genetist J.S. Patel created the first Tall x Dwarf coconut hybrids in India in 1938. Although those hybrids were planted under poor conditions, they proved to produce earlier and better yields than their Tall parent.

Almost all research programmes were interrupted either by one of the world wars, or by the economic crisis of 1929. Most experimental stations were neglected and the pedigrees of the selected coconut palms were lost.
"Modern" coconut breeding only resumed after the Second World War, with the first surveys and systematic studying coconut varieties cultivated worldwide. This research provided an initial approach to the genetic diversity of the species. In particular, the originality of Dwarf type varieties was discovered: Dwarfs are characterized by early flowering, slow vertical growth, but also a tendency towards self-pollination, susceptibility to drought and insect attacks.
Many coconut hybrid tests were set up from 1945 to 1960. They consisted in crossing various local Dwarf or Tall varieties with each other. The experimental population used for that work was generally small. Most of the results indicated that hybrids were better than their parents.
For a long time, these studies remained mostly theoretical. Even though coconut hybrids displayed a high production potential, it was not known how to propagate them on a large scale. The absence of a reliable seednut production technique prevented any distribution of those hybrids to growers. Some countries even turned away from that line of research which did not seem to be leading to any practical applications. Development of seednut production techniques dates back to the 1970s. By offering reasonably priced seednuts with good legitimacy, those techniques led to the advent of coconut hybrids. For instance, the F1 hybrids Maypan and PB 121, were available for commercial planting in Jamaica and Côte d'Ivoire respectively by the mid-1970s, and seed gardens to produce these types of hybrid now exist in many coconut growing countries.
Around thirty institutes worldwide are contributing to coconut research. India and Sri Lanka have the longest continuing tradition of research on this palm. Starting in 1940, the French research institute for oils and oil crops (IRHO) set up research centres in West Africa (Ivory Coast, Benin) then in the Pacific (Vanuatu, French Polynesia). Ivory Coast and Vanuatu continue to play a very important role in coconut research. In the late 20th century significant coconut research was carried out in Florida, Jamaica and Trinidad in the Caribbean; Malaysia in Asia and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific, whilst the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, Brazil and China have continued to develope their own research facilities into the present century. On an international level, various organizations play a role in this field. The Food & Agriculture Organization and ODA (UK) once supported fundamental research into coconut pathology and in vitro propagation while CIRAD (France), GTZ (Germany), IPGRI, and ACIAR (Australia), still undertake or fund international research work on this palm. The Asian Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) publishes research findings and economic studies.
In Côte d'Ivoire, the "Marc Delorme" research station was founded in 1949 by the Institut de Recherches sur les Huiles et Oléagineux (IRHO) one of the research institutes now merged into CIRAD (Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement). Today, the station is part of a research facility belonging to the Ivorian "Centre National de Recherche Agronomique".


Coconut fruit shapes and sizes


Click on the pictures to enlarge them !

From the book:

Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.

By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho
Editions Diversiflora, Montpellier, France. Size: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0 - FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2

Description: Malayan Yellow Dwarf

Click on the pictures to enlarge them !

From the book:

Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.
By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

Editions Diversiflora, Montpellier, France. Size: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0

FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2

Malayan Yellow Dwarf

The Malayan Yellow Dwarf is probably the most widespread Dwarf coconut in the world. It is thought that Dwarf palms were introduced in Malaysia between 1890-1900 by planters from a place called Kryon or Krion, said to be in Indonesia. The colour of the seedling sprout, the leaf stalk, the inflorescence, and the fruit is pale yellow. When the fruits are younger (6 to 9 months), their colour is often a pale yellow-green.
The palm generally has a thin stem, about 22 to 25 cm in diameter, with no bole. When the growing conditions are excellent, it may have a small bole (35 to 40 cm in diameter). This can be seen in the picture on this page, showing a Malayan Yellow Dwarf planted on the volcanic soil of a Vanuatu island. The youngest leaves at the top of the palm are characterised by the soft petiole terminal portion and soft leaflets. The upper canopy appears like an undressed hair, which can be observed more clearly for the Malayan Yellow Dwarf than for Malayan Red or Green Dwarf. Because of its short peduncle, the bunch is well supported by the leaf petioles.
Malayan Yellow Dwarf has been characterised in the collection of at least ten countries: Brazil, Côte d'Ivoire, Fiji, India, Jamaica Philippines, Tanzania, Thailand, Vanuatu, and Vietnam. The Malayan Yellow Dwarf generally produces medium sized, oblong fruits weighting 700 to 800 g, but the fruit weights may vary a lot. Its mean value range from 370 g (India) up to 1752 g (Vanuatu) according to environmental factors. Inside the fruits, the nuts are almost spherical and generally weight 350 to 450 g. In good field conditions, the Malayan Yellow Dwarf is an early bearer. It starts to flower 2 years after planting and it may produce 80 to 100 fruits per palm per year (at a planting density of 205 palms per hectare and without irrigation). Water from young nuts is sweet, but not as sweet and tasty as some other Green Dwarf cultivars. The albumen is thin and turns into rubbery copra. However, it have a good final oil content of 69%.
the Malayan Yellow Dwarf is sensitive to dry and unfavourable environmental conditions. It is subject to alternate bearing. It is resistant to the Lethal Yellowing Disease (LYD) of Jamaica but susceptible to the LYD found in Tanzania and Ghana. In 2004, Malayan Yellow Dwarf was conserved in the coconut germplasm centres by 28 accessions, with more than 16,000 palms. Malayan Yellow Dwarf can be found at least in the following 15 countries: Benin, Brazil, Côte d'Ivoire, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Tanzania, Thailand, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Malaysia.
In the field of genetic resources and breeding, the Malayan Yellow Dwarf is the most utilised cultivar worldwide. The COGENT research network recommends to use it systematically as genetic control for field experimentation when comparing Dwarf cultivars. The Malayan Yellow Dwarf is also often chosen for developing new technologies such as vitro-culture of zygotic embryos.

Description: Tahiti Red Dwarf


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From the book:
Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.
By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

Editions Diversiflora, Montpellier, France. Size: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0
FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2

Tahiti Red Dwarf

This Red Dwarf from Tahiti was introduced into Africa in the 1970s. However, in Tahiti it is known as the “Haari Papua”, literally “Papuan coconut”. Yet, Papua New Guinea is almost 6,000 km from Tahiti, at the other side of the Pacific Ocean ! For several centuries, Polynesian or Melanesian sailors travelled across the Pacific Ocean bringing plants with them. They considerably confused the issue of coconut variety origins.
In Côte d'Ivoire, this Dwarf is the frailest of all the coconut varieties. Eight years after planting, its slender stem does not exceed a metre in height on average. Its growth is slower than that of the Brazilian Green Dwarf. Its very supple fronds with long leaflets give it a particular silhouette, by which this variety can be distinguished from the Malayan Dwarf.
The bunches are clusters of small fruits suspended at the end of a long peduncle. While young, these oval fruits are a deep orange-red. When completely ripe, they have a small but clearly defined nipple. Inside the fruit, the nut is round; it sometimes becomes pointed at the distal end if the palm has suffered from drought. Ripe nuts contain little free water. A mature nut weighing an average of 200 g contains 70 g of meat and only 7 g of free water (on 6-7 years average). Seednut germination, which is rather slow for a Dwarf, does not reach a high rate. In Côte d'Ivoire, the Tahiti Red Dwarf starts flowering 4.3 years after planting, i.e. more than two years after the Malayan Yellow Dwarf. When mature, its production remains low and does not exceed 60 fruits per palm per year, i.e. 30 fruits fewer than the Yellow Dwarf. However, some of the nice palms encountered in the home gardens of the island of Aitutaki (Cook) are bearing more than 200 small fruits !
In Polynesia, TRD is mostly used for decoration in gardens and villages. On well watered volcanic soils, some palms bear numerous small fruits, which are left on the palms for a long time and only few of them are consumed. Perhaps the function of the Tahiti Red Dwarf resembles that of so-called “wedding” coconut palms in the Tuvalu islands. When there are too many guests and not enough good big drinking nuts, the guests are treated to these pretty little fruits available in large numbers.Although this Dwarf is quite widespread in certain Pacific islands (Cook, Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa), it is not well represented in international collections. Only one accession of this variety, comprising 73 living palms in 2004, is preserved in the Ivorian collection at the “Marc Delorme” Research Centre. As it flowers late and produces small yields, researchers have shown little interest in the Tahiti Red Dwarf. Very little use has yet been made of it in the breeding programmes. In Côte d'Ivoire, it was crossed with four other varieties in 1993.

Description: Cameroon Red Dwarf


Click on the pictures to enlarge them !

From the book:
Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.
By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

Editions Diversiflora, MontpellierSize: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0

FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2

Cameroon Red Dwarf

The Cameroon Red Dwarf (CRD) was collected in the region of Kribi, Cameroon, during the year 1955. People remember that it was introduced by American priests, but nobody knows from where. Its origin is very probably the Pacific Ocean region, as shown by recent molecular biology studies.
The Cameroon Red Dwarf is paler than any of the Red Dwarf varieties described in this catalogue. In fact, its colour is generally closer to yellow-orange than a true red. This colour is not very stable. It may change according to mineral nutrition or light intensity. Sometimes, within the same palm, colours of fruits from different bunches can range from intense orange to almost yellow.
The palm generally has a very thin stem, about 20 cm diameter in Côte d'Ivoire, with no bole. Quite often, the stem is narrower at the basis than higher. But when the growing conditions are excellent, it may have a small bole (about 30 cm diameter in the rich soil of Vanuatu islands). The youngest leaves at the top of the palm are erect and straight, very different of those of the Malayan Dwarf varieties. The peduncles of the bunch are quite long for a Dwarf type; for this reason, very heavy bunches may abort before reaching full maturity. The reproduction system has been described as direct autogamy. CRD has been characterized in, at least, seven countries: Brazil, Côte d'Ivoire, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Tanzania, and Vanuatu.
The Cameroon Red Dwarf produces medium sized, pear-shaped fruits of excellent composition. May be it is one of the coconut varieties that have the thinner husk. The fruit weights range from 447 g (in a dry zone of Malaysia) to 945 g (in India). Inside the fruits, the nuts are spherical and weight from 283 g to 657 g depending upon the country. In good field conditions, The Cameroon Red Dwarf starts to flower 2 to 3 years after field planting. It produces 50 to 90 fruits per palm per year without irrigation.
The Cameroon Red Dwarf is mainly an ornamental palm, planted among gardens and in the cities. Water from young nuts is sweet and tasty. As with most Dwarf varieties, it is sensitive to drought and subject to alternate bearing. The Cameroon Red Dwarf is also particularly sensitive to the fruits attacks caused by an insect of the genus Pseudoptheraptus. The left picture shows chemical treatment against this weevil in a coconut seed garden planted with CRD in Côte d'Ivoire.
The Cameroon Red Dwarf is conserved in the germplasm centres of at least twelve countries, from Brazil to Vanuatu. CRD was used as female parent for testing and producing hybrids in Côte d'Ivoire. The hybrid between CRD and the West African Tall is very productive but quite sensitive to bug attacks. Nowadays, the cross between CRD and the improved Rennell Island Tall (RIT) is released to farmers by the “Marc Delorme” Research Centre in Côte d'Ivoire.

Description: Brazil Green Dwarf


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From the book:
Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.
By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

Editions Diversiflora, MontpellierSize: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0

FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2

Brazil Green Dwarf

The Brazil Green Dwarf (BGD) is a fabled coconut variety. Its sweet and delicious young nuts are sold for drinking along Copacabana and other famous tropical beaches of Brazil. It is very difficult to hunt down the history of Green Dwarf varieties all around the world. The BGD now conserved in Côte d'Ivoire was collected in Equatorial Guinea, an African country, around 1960. But this Green Dwarf had been introduced in Africa from Recife, in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, by the agronomist Don Osman Silveira in June 1950. It is said that BGD was introduced to Brazil in 1920 from the Bogor botanical garden of Indonesia. Recent DNA molecular studies suggest that BGD originates from the Philippines !
The palm generally has a thin stem, about 20 to 25 cm in diameter, with no or little bole. The youngest leaves at the top of the palm are quite erect, more than those of the Malayan Dwarf varieties. Because of its short peduncle, the bunch is well supported by the leaf petioles. Fruits are oblong-shaped, of an intense green colour. The average fruit weights range from 556 g (dry zone of Tanzania) to 1,090 g (rich volcanic soils of the Vanuatu islands). Inside the fruits, the nuts are almost spherical and weigh from 353 g to 556 g on average.
BGD generally starts to flower 2 to 3 years after planting. It may produce 50 to 100 fruits per palm per year in natural growing conditions. With irrigation and fertilization, BGD produces around 150 fruits per palm per year at a planting density of 200 palms per hectare. BGD was first planted in the gardens. Water from young nuts is very sweet an tasty, one of the best. Today, almost 59,000 hectares of this Green Dwarf are planted in Brazil. Some Brazilian farmers reputedly became millionaires by planting BGD and selling young nuts to drink !
BGD is conserved worldwide in the coconut germplasm centres of, at least, nine countries by 17 accessions, totalling more than 3,000 palms. Of course, it is found in Brazil. From Côte d'Ivoire, it was introduced to the collections of Benin, Ghana, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Tanzania. Many seednuts were also sent to Guyana and Tahiti in the 1980's.
BGD was tested as female parent of many coconut hybrids. In Côte d'Ivoire, none of these hybrids was released to farmers because the progenies from BGD were more heterogeneous than those obtained with other Dwarf varieties, such as Malayan Yellow Dwarf or Cameroon Red Dwarf. In African countries, hybrids with BGD were also susceptible to fruit fall caused by fungi of Phytophthora genus. Nevertheless, the hybrid between BGD and the Rangiroa Tall (RGT) was recommended on the coral soils of Polynesian islands in the Pacific Ocean. Hybrids between BGD and local tall varieties are also being tested in Brazil.

Description: Rennell Island Tall


Click on the pictures to enlarge them !

From the book:
Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.
By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

Editions Diversiflora, MontpellierSize: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0

FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2

Rennell Island Tall

Rennell is a high island located in the Solomon archipelago. Its two main features are its Polynesian population, when other Solomon Islands are mainly populated with Melanesians, and its volcanic lake, now registered as a world heritage.
The Rennell Island Tall (RIT) has a bulky stem that starts with a very large bole. The leaf is quite short when taken into account the huge stem development. The inflorescence is wide, with a long peduncle, and bends quite rapidly after opening. Controversy remains about the numerous seednuts collected from different locations in the Rennell Island and sent to other countries. M.A. Foale, who visited the Rennell Island in 1964 and discovered this variety, said that the true-to-type Rennell, with large and pointed fruits, is found only around the volcanic lake on the eastern part of the island. In other places, such as the coastal area, there is a mix between the Rennell Island Tall and the ordinary type, known as the Solomon Island Tall, which has smaller oblong fruits. The fruits are large. Their weights range from 1,443 g in Tanzania up to 1,707 g in Côte d'Ivoire. The fresh albumen weights vary from 491 g in Tanzania to 593 g in Thailand. In the Research Centres of Côte d'Ivoire and the Philippines, the fruit yields are respectively 48 and 78 fruits per palm per year. RIT is tolerant to Phytophthora diseases in Côte d'Ivoire and Indonesia. It is susceptible to the Lethal Yellowing Diseases in Jamaica, Tanzania and Ghana.
Natives of Rennell and Bellona Islands use portions of coconut leaves in a very particular and strange way. There is many poisonous snakes around the volcanic lake of Rennell Island. In case of snake bite, small and elongated fragments of petioles are used for transfering into the wound the heat that will ensure venome destruction.
RIT is represented worldwide in germplasm banks by 19 accessions and a total of 2,695 individual palms. At least eleven germplasm conservation centres are involved, namely Brazil, Côte d'Ivoire, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tanzania and Vanuatu. The registered accession sizes are highly variable, from only two palms in India, up to 561 in Côte d'Ivoire.It is quite difficult to list all the crosses involving RIT as parental material due to its wide utilization in many breeding programmes. The hybrid Malayan Red Dwarf x RIT, is known as Maren and described in this guide on page 94. It is found in many countries in the Pacific region. In Vanuatu, the hybrid between the Vanuatu Tall and the RIT is currently being improved. In Côte d'Ivoire, all the Tall cultivars introduced are now systematically crossed with the RIT; one of the two improved hybrids currently distributed to farmers is the cross between the Cameroon Red Dwarf and RIT, known as “Camren”. This hybrid is described in this guide on page 86. It is recommended for use only in on well watered lands.

Description: Tagnanan Tall


Click on the pictures to enlarge them !

From the book:
Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.
By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

Editions Diversiflora, MontpellierSize: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0

FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2

Tagnanan Tall

The coconut plantations of the Philippines owe much to a royal edict from the court of Madrid which, in 1696, required each adult to plant at least 200 seedlings of coconut palms. The Tagnanan Estate farm, from which this variety came, lies Northeast of the Gulf of Davao, the capital of Mindanao Island. In the 1940s, this farm was a plantation of abaca, a plant similar to banana whose fibre is used to make ropes and fabrics. At the end of the war, the land was purchased and converted into a large coconut plantation, after a virus had decimated the abaca. Seednuts were taken from coconut palms on the seashore near to the plantation. According to some inhabitants, these parent palms already planted on the seashore were brought from Indonesia by an American settler. Later, the plantation, renamed Tagnanan, was divided up among more than 300 Philippino farmers.
The vertical growth of Tagnanan tall (TAGT) is variable but greater than that of African Tall palms. The fruits are rounded, often wider than they are long, and rich in water. With a thin husk and thick meat, fruit composition is excellent, even more so since parents where especially chosen by the scientists for that criterion. Data from the Tagnanan estate indicate a fruit weighing 1,929 g and containing 310 g of copra. In the best plots, the number of fruits produced reaches 94 per palm per year. The production continues to increase 15 years after planting, and reach high levels.
The seednuts harvested at the plantation have been planted at the Zamboanga Research Centre in the Philippines and exported to Côte d'Ivoire. At Zamboanga, the palms have given 68 fruits per year, with a weight of copra per fruit of 328 grams. In Africa, this variety has proved to perform much less well: the 400 palms planted in 1974 have produced an average of 46 fruits per adult palm per year. The second introduction was carried out by selecting parents with a high meat weight per fruit. The result of the selection process was disappointing: Thus, the meat weight effectively increased by around 7%, but production was only 22 fruits per palm per year. Selecting large fruits can indirectly cause a substantial reduction in the number of fruits. TAGT transmits good tolerance to nut fall and bud rot caused by fungi of the genus Phytophthora. After 15 years of studies at the Zamboanga Research Centre, nine locally produced coconut hybrids and one local Tall were selected from the collection and a pool of 67 hybrids established in eleven genetic trials by the Philippine Coconut Authority. The hybrid released to farmers under the commercial name PCA 15-2 is a cross between the Malayan Red Dwarf and TAGT. PCA 15-4 is another hybrid between the Catigan Green Dwarf and TAGT.TAGT is conserved in collections in the Philippines, Malaysia, Tanzania, Côte d'Ivoire, Vanuatu and Ghana. However, at the Tagnanan estate, the coconut palms were felled and replaced with bananas in the 1990s.

Description: Sri lanka Tall Ambakelle


Click on the pictures to enlarge them !

From the book:
Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.
By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

Editions Diversiflora, MontpellierSize: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0

FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2

Sri Lanka Tall Ambakelle

In Sri Lankan tradition, the coconut palm is known as the “tree of a hundred uses”. The oval photograph opposite shows one such use, which is religious and festive. The variety described here is not a traditional coconut type. It is a variety improved by Sri Lankan researchers, and known in that country as CRIC 60. Since the 1960s, CRIC 60 has acquired world renown for its productivity and drought resistance. It is produced in the Ambakelle seed garden.
In Côte d'Ivoire, CRIC 60 starts flowering, on average, slightly before 6 years after planting. It starts bearing at 7 years, with 24 fruits per palm per year on average. From 8 to 12 years, production fluctuates between 40 and 50 fruits per palm per year; it then continues to increase, reaching 76 and 102 fruits at 16 and 17 years respectively. The fruits weigh 1,349 g and contain a nut weighing 827 g on average; once dried, the 436 g kernel gives around 270 g of fairly oil-rich copra.
Controversy over the type of variety to be disseminated: hybrid or Tall coconuts? has raged in Sri Lanka, when a new hybrid between the Green Dwarf and the Sri Lanka Tall was distributed under the name CRIC 65. Farmers, who have only cultivated Tall coconut palms for centuries, did not take at all kindly to this new hybrid variety. According to them, the husk fibres of the hybrids did not have exactly the same characteristics; the wood was of poorer quality. The flavour of the meat was also less pleasant. However, in terms of yields expressed as the number of nuts or as meat weight, hybrid CRIC65 was shown by experimental results to be better than the improved Tall CRIC 60. Its superiority is particularly expressed in the first 12 years and then the difference fades and disappears. However, the first 12 years are clearly decisive for the profitability of a coconut planting.
In the 1990s, Sri Lankan researchers designed an original experiment intended to select coconut palms with greater drought resistance. Embryos were removed from seednuts of variety CRIC 60 and transferred to test tubes containing culture media with high concentrations of salts supposed to reproduce an artificial drought stress. The few embryos that survived were grown and removed from the tubes. Some have reached the stage of adult coconut palms, which are currently being assessed for their drought resistance. In 2004, Ten accessions of SLT02 representing more than 2,500 living palms were conserved in world coconut collections. This variety has been exported from Sri Lanka to Côte d'Ivoire, India, Jamaica, Thailand, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Description: Mawa or PB121 hybrid


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From the book:
Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.
By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

Editions Diversiflora, MontpellierSize: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2


Hybrid PB 121 or Mawa

The coconut hybrid PB 121 results from a cross between the Malayan Yellow Dwarf, used as the female parent, and the West African Tall. The name Mawa can be found in English-speaking countries, “Ma” standing for Malayan and “wa” for West African. This hybrid was created in Côte d'Ivoire in 1962 and has become the most widely used improved variety in the world. By 1985, it was already being grown in more than forty countries.
The fruits, which are not very large, weigh from 900 to 1,200 grams (on average 990 grams). The inner nut weighs from 600 to 750 grams and contains an oil-rich meat varying in weight from 320 to 380 grams. In estates, it is rare for copra weights (artificially dried kernel) to exceed 200 grams per fruit; in the research centres, they vary from 190 grams to 240 grams. The copra has a high oil content of around 65%.
PB 121 serves as a reference control in numerous trials. Under suitable growing conditions, it usually starts bearing 4 years after planting, and produces 80 to 220 fruits before the end of the 6th year.
Mature palms may produce from 3.5 to 4.5 tons of copra per hectare per year, i.e. 130 to 170 nuts per palm at a density of 160 palms per hectare.
In Côte d'Ivoire, the large estates belonging to the former Palmindustrie company make it possible to compare 4 000 hectares of West African Tall palms with 12 500 hectares of coconut hybrids (90% PB 121) spread throughout the country on highly variable soils. From 1985 to 1990, the hybrids produced 2.4 tons of copra per hectare, as compared to only 1.5 tons for the West African Tall variety.
PB 121 adapts to a wide spectrum of situations, notably with good tolerance to water stress. Yet the introduction of PB 121 in some regions of Indonesia and the Philippines ended in failure: a fungus of the genus Phytophthora killed a substantial number of palms in the plantations, and farmers judged the nuts to be too small. In Indonesia and the Comoro Islands, PB 121 remains greatly appreciated for the production of Toddy, coconut palm sap obtained by binding and tapping the inflorescence.
Up to 1995, the PB 121 distributed from Côte d'Ivoire was derived from two populations: around a hundred West African Tall male parents were used in a mixture to pollinate several thousands of Yellow Dwarf female parents. It was therefore impossible precisely to determine the “father” of each hybrid, since an entire population had been used as the male. However, not all the palms in a population are genetically similar and their progeny does not have the same value. Half-sib families, each made up of a single West African Tall male and several Malayan Yellow Dwarf females, were compared with a view to improving the PB 121 hybrid.
The results of those experiments were highly encouraging, with the best half-sib families producing well over average yields. In addition, some males transmitted tolerance of certain diseases to their progenies, such as nut-fall caused by Phytophthora.The “Marc Delorme” Centre currently distributes an “improved” PB 121 that is 15 to 20% more productive than the classic PB 121 hybrid. Yields exceeding 5.5 tons of copra per hectare have been reached in the research centres, but this “second generation” hybrid is expected to achieve 3.5 tons of copra per hectare on average in Ivorian farms.

Description: Maypan hybrid

Click on the pictures to enlarge them !

From the book:
Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.
By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

Editions Diversiflora, MontpellierSize: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0

FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2

Hybrid Maypan

The Maypan hybrid was created in Jamaica in 1974 by crossing Malayan Yellow and Red Dwarf varieties, as the female parent, with a Panama Tall imported into the island at the beginning of the twentieth century. “May “ stands for Malayan and “pan” for Panama Tall, from the names of the two parental varieties.
As Lethal Yellowing Disease is rife in Jamaica, it is forbidden to import planting material from that country. Molecular biology studies have confirmed the close similarity between the Panama Tall varieties present in Jamaica and those in the towns of Aguadulce and Monagre in Panama. The closest kinship exists between the Monagre and Jamaica origins. In Côte d'Ivoire, only the Malayan Yellow Dwarf is used as female parent for the Maypan hybrid, along with Panama Tall varieties of Aguadulce and Monagre origin as the male parent.
The Maypan hybrid starts bearing 5 years after planting and can produce 200 fruits before the 7th year.
It remains slightly less productive than PB 121 in Côte d'Ivoire, particularly before maturity. For yields cumulated over the 5 to 8 years old period, the difference amounts to 2.6 tons of copra per hectare, i.e. 100 fruits per palm.
Once the palm reaches maturity, yields increase and the difference diminishes. Over the 9 to 13 years old period, the Maypan and PB 121 hybrids respectively produce 4.6 and 4.8 tons of copra on average per hectare per year, i.e. 122 and 143 fruits per palm per year. The Maypan produces fewer but larger fruits, averaging from 1,200 to 1,400 grams. The nuts weigh around a kilogram and contain 450 to 470 grams of meat on average. Copra weights per fruit vary from 240 to 260 grams depending on the years and plots. The high yields indicated above were obtained on a research centre. They should be extrapolated with caution to commercial growing conditions, which are often less suitable.
Until recently, the Maypan was considered to be resistant to the Lethal Yellowing disease in Jamaica. Since 1972, up to 100,000 hybrid seednuts have been produced yearly in that country. In 1969 the Jamaica Tall local variety accounted for nine tenths of the 3,000,000 coconut palms in Jamaica. However, 26 years later, the Jamaica Tall, which has been destroyed by Lethal Yellowing (and also by cyclones) no longer accounts for more than 1% of coconut plantings. In 1995, the remaining coconut palms consist of 49% Malayan Dwarf varieties, 49% Maypan hybrids, and only 1% Panama Tall. Despite this initial brilliant success, the hybrids as well as all other available varieties started dying in their thousands in the mid-1990s. Experts are examining various hypotheses to try to understand and attempt to control this unexpected resurgence of the Lethal Yellowing Disease. Fungi of the genus Phytophthora cause either bud rot, which kills the palm, or nut-fall, which reduces yields without killing the palm. In Côte d'Ivoire, only nut-fall occurs at the “Marc Delorme” Research Centre; the Maypan hybrid displays little susceptibility to nut-fall, with only 1% fruit losses, whereas PB 121 has 9% losses. However, in Jamaica, where coconut palms are killed by Phytophthora, up to 14% mortality has been recorded.

Description: Matag hybrid



Click on the pictures to enlarge them !

From the book:
Coconut. A guide to traditional and improved varieties.
By R. Bourdeix, J.L. Konan and Y.P. N’Cho

Editions Diversiflora, Montpellier, France. Size: 21 x 27 cm - 104 pages
ENGLISH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-1-0

FRENCH VERSION: ISBN 2-9525408-0-2

Hybrid PCA 15-2 or Matag

The hybrid PCA 15-2 is a cross between the Malayan Red Dwarf and the Tagnanan Tall. Depending on the case, the Dwarf or the Tall is used as the female parent. PCA in the name stands for Philippine Coconut Authority, the State organization in charge of coconut research in that Asian country. The term Matag is especially used in Malaysia, “Ma” standing for Malaysia and “tag” standing for Tagnanan.
This hybrid was planted for the first time in 1979, both in the Philippines and in Côte d'Ivoire. It starts bearing 5 years after planting. Yields remain slightly lower than those of hybrid PB 121 up to around 10th year, after which the order is reversed. In terms of cumulated yields, hybrid PCA 15-2 only overtakes PB 121 around the 13th year after planting. However, it should be noted that this comparison is based on the first generation
PB 121, which has since then been improved in Côte d'Ivoire.
The fruits weigh 1,300 to 1,700 grams. The inner nut is round, usually weighs over 1,000 grams and gives 500 to 600 grams of moderately oil-rich meat. The copra weight per fruit fluctuates between 260 and 320 grams.
In Côte d'Ivoire, production peaks of 6.1 tons of copra per hectare per year (around 150 fruits per palm) have been recorded at 10 years for a planting density of 160 palms per hectare. In Malaysia, amazing yields of more than 7 tons have been reported, and this is the world record ! However, these figures should not be extrapolated to commercial growing conditions, which are often less suitable. Yields of 3 to 4 tons of copra per hectare can be expected (i.e. 70 to 90 fruits per palm per year).
Fungi of the genus Phytophthora cause either bud rot, which kills the coconut palm or nut-fall which reduces yields without killing the palm. Only the second symptom can be seen at the “Marc Delorme” research Centre in Côte d'Ivoire. Hybrid PCA 15-2 displays little susceptibility to nut-fall with only 1% fruit losses at 10 years, as opposed to 14% for hybrid PB 121. However, at Zamboanga in the Philippines, where coconut palms are killed by Phytophthora, PCA 15-2 seems to be more susceptible: mortality rates of up to 14% have been observed.
Tagnanan Tall palms produce green or brown fruits depending on the palms. In the Philippines, when the first hybrid seednuts were produced, only Tall parents with green nuts were used as the female parent. In the nursery, illegitimate plants can easily be culled according to the seednut sprout colour. Seednuts with a brown sprout are true PCA 15-2 hybrids; seeds with a green sprout are illegitimate, usually resulting from accidental selfing of the female parent. Later on, Tall palms with brown nuts were also used as female parents.In Côte d'Ivoire, hybrid PCA 15-2 was produced with the Red Dwarf as the female parent. In this case, seednuts with a brown sprout are true PCA 15-2 hybrids and seednuts with a red sprout are Red Dwarf varieties obtained by unwanted selfing of the female parent. In an international experiment, hybrid PCA 15-2 was exported in 2002 from Côte d'Ivoire to six countries: Benin, Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, Mozambique and Tanzania. In particular, PCA 15-2 is being tested in this experiment with improved PB 121 and PB 113 hybrids, and with local Tall coconut varieties.