Tall, slender, majestic with open umbrella of fronds at the top, which can be seen across Indian landscapes, is the Coconut palm tree. The botanical name for the coconut is cocos nucifera, with cocos believed to come from Spanish, meaning "monkey-faced" or "eerie-faced" and nucifera from Latin meaning nut-bearing plant.
The coconut palm tree is a long-lived plant; it has a single trunk, 20-30 meter tall, its bark is smooth and gray, marked by ringed scars left by fallen leaf bases. The tree can live as long as 100 years producing an annual yield of 50 to 100 coconuts.
Coconut palm tree is also known as Kalpavriksha. It means “tree of life”. It provides everything needed to a sustain life. Experts describe the coconut as not just a fruit, but as a nut and seed. It has three layers, outside layer now as exocrap, the fibrous husk known as mesocrap, the thin woody layer surrounding the actual coconut meat is endocarp. The pulpy part of the coconut is delicious and water is soothing to drink, it is used in cooking, preparation of medicines etc. The dried coconut produces coconut oil, which has a wide variety of applications. It is applied on the body, in raw form or in medicated form. It is also used extensively in hair care and its related products. It is added as a major ingredient in manufacturing bathing soaps. Different parts of the coconut tree have different medicinal value. Roots of fresh coconuts are popularly used as remedy for diarrhea and dysentery. Coconut water includes sugar, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. And is one of the best isotonic electrolyte balances available.
Tree also has much wide range of uses, if it is old enough, any piece of furniture can be made out of it. The coconut leaves are widely used for thatching the roofs of houses in villages, or for making 'panthals' (temporary constructions). Broomsticks are made using the narrow sticks attached to the individual leaves. In rural areas one can see hand fans made out of the palm leaves. Other portions are used as firewood. The outer cover of the coconut is the raw material for making coir and coir products. The coir pith, when treated, converts itself into good manure. The coconut shell is used for making different art forms. It also is used for making charcoal and other byproducts. Dried coconut shells are used in making various kitchen utensils like cups, ladles, mugs, spoons etc. decorative hangings, lampshades, showpieces, chandeliers and various items can be made using the coconut shell. All the parts of the coconut can be used in making some kind of artifacts.
Coconut is used in sculpting as well. Here is one such craft where coconut is used for sculpting.