Magical History from the Sri Lankan Tree of Life (Part 4)
By Chris Waage,
Magical History from the Sri Lankan Tree of Life (Part 4)

Let’s take a closer look at the useful components of a coconut tree.


1. The coconut’s meat - another term would be the flesh/kernel
2. The coconut’s water
3. The shell of the coconut
4. The outside layer of the coconut, which is called the husk of the coconut
5. The flower of the coconut
6. The branches of the coconut tree
7. The actual trunk of the coconut tree


The Flower of the Coconut


Perched near the top of the tree, the stunningly beautiful, light-yellow in color coconut flower, is certainly unmistakable! The blossom gives rise to the coconuts themselves. So, in theory, the flower is where it all begins.


Since ancient times, it has served as a symbol of respect in Sri Lankan culture, where people use coconut flowers as decorations during specific traditional ceremonies. The 'PunKalasa' (as natives call it), is one of the well-known traditional decorations - which ultimately symbolizes prosperity. As a result, you will most definitely find the PunKalasa at just about every wedding in the Sri Lankan culture.


In terms of alternative medicine, additionally, coconut flowers have been found to be useful in Sri Lankan Ayurvedic treatments. Consequently, coconut blooms are yet another priceless and attractive feature of the coconut palm.

- Ayurveda is an alternative medicine approach to treatment, with historical roots that are in the Indian culture.


The Branches of the Coconut

The coconut tree has roughly twenty branches around the summit of the tree. They are perfect for covering homes and cottages with thatch roofs – so basically, a space with a coconut branch roof, has an abundance of natural ventilation all the time.


In ancient Sri Lanka, most dwellings had thatched roofs with coconut branches – it was the norm that could found from village to village. However today, that isn’t the case. These days, people primarily apply thatch roofs for aesthetic reasons – it just has that ‘old-world’ charm.


The stick that is in the center of the coconut branches (which is very dense) has also proved to be useful. These sticks, bunched together, makes the perfect broom for sweeping outside. It is common to find sand being swept with a coconut stick broom, creating lovely patterns that have long been a feature of idyllic village life throughout Sri Lanka.


People also use the tender part of the branch from the coconut tree, in addition to the mature branch. Similar to the coconut flower, the delicate coconut branch is quite often utilized as a decorative object during traditional ceremonies and they are usually found gracing the gateways to the celebrations.


It just goes to show the value of every component from the Tree of Life – the coconut tree!


The Trunk of the Coconut


The trunk of the coconut tree is another essential component that is found to be

quite useful across many industries. The coconut tree has a long, cylindrical trunk (basically a long round shape – think of a pole), with no branches because it is a palm tree. The sturdy, robust wood with a fiber-rich core found inside the coconut trunk, is the part that is most useful to utilize. Therefore, the coconut trunk has a commercial value that is in a league of its own – in regards to other lumber.


Coconut wood is a popular ‘go-to’ material for creating furniture and other construction projects; especially when natural resources are a focus.


Interestingly enough, despite the fact that coconut wood is in such high demand, it is incredibly inexpensive in Sri Lanka; as it should be – Sri Lanka is the source of this magical tree of life.


To be continued…


The coconut tree, as you are clearly seeing, isn’t just your average tropical tree. To be able to utilize every aspect, is truly quite astonishing. If you think about it, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Its only limits of usage, are that of the user themselves.

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From basic residential applications to alternative medicines, the coconut tree plays a vital role in our everyday lives.


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