05 January 2006

Description: Cameroon 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, 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.