05 January 2006

Description: Rennell Island Tall

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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

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.