05 January 2006

Description: Brazil Green 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

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.