Magical History from the Sri Lankan Tree of Life (Part 6)
By Chris Waage,
Magical History from the Sri Lankan Tree of Life (Part 6)

Hail to the King of the Coconuts


With an orange-colored cover, King Coconuts are native to the land of Sri Lanka. With its sweet coconut water and even sweeter meat – much sweeter than other coconut sources, the demand for this luscious fruit (or tree nut as some call them) is in high demand. The King Coconut has quickly become a very popular refreshment amongst visitors of the region, its locals and just about every corner of the globe.


For those in the botanical circles, the King Coconut is known as Cocos nucifera var. aurantiaca.


In comparison to other coconut palm species, King Coconuts grow at the top of palm trees that are 20 to 30 meters tall. They emerge from smaller branches on a long stalk in groups of up to 20 nuts each.


In terms of their shape, the “Kings” resemble that of an American football. The coconuts are shaped long and oval and have a pointed end on the side opposite the stem. The skin radiates a vibrant orange color and yet you may sometimes notice that they may bear random dark marks or ‘slices’ on its outer-layer.


King Coconuts have an average length of approximately 20 to 30 cm and they take about seven to eight months before this uniquely tasty fruit is ready for consumption. In comparison, the typical green coconut gets harvested in less than half the time as the “King” does, so that alone, should tell you how much more beneficial they are; simply from the amount of time it takes to come to fruition.


As previously mentioned, the King Coconut, or Thembili, as native Sri Lankans call them, grow on a palm that is a bit shorter than the regular coconut tree – which most are familiar with. Interestingly enough, the King Coconut comes in a couple different varieties:


1. Ran Thambili (smaller nuts that grow in a large number per bunch)
2. Gon Thambili/ Red dwarf (the normal reddish or orangish common King Coconut).


The water from the King Coconut is renowned for being a rich, calming beverage with less sugar than regular coconut water. Additionally, this form of coconut's kernel can be eaten and has a list full of health benefits that we will cover throughout this article series.


The Natural Remedy


The nut's sweet and tasty juice is made up of electrolytes and minerals that are aligned to what our bodies require. The water from the King Coconut provides energizing and cooling properties that active bodies so badly need during elevated activity.


B-complex vitamins, amino acids, and electrolytes, which are minerals like potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphate, are all abundant in King Coconuts. You may be surprised to know, the King Coconuts' liquid is higher in potassium and magnesium than bananas and oranges, respectively.


Our metabolism plays a vital role in the process of both weight gain and weight loss. Someone with a low or “slow” metabolism basically burns less calories when the body is at rest. Therefore, in order for them to avoid gaining weight, less calories needs to be consumed.


Coincidently enough, bioactive enzymes found in King Coconuts support the body's metabolism and aid in digestion. This in turn, allows people to maintain a healthy weight.


According to studies, the water found in King Coconuts possesses antioxidant qualities. In addition, natural sucrose, fructose, and glucose are present in the liquid, however, only in very small levels.


King Coconut, meanwhile, is a fantastic natural remedy in Sinhala Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.


Although the King Coconut is still a relatively new crop, Sri Lanka does export it on a moderate basis. In Sri Lanka, King Coconut vendors are prevalent, particularly in touristy areas and along the roadsides. Since you may drink the beverage straight from the nut, it is both natural and hygienic, which makes this fruit an easy go-to sweet refreshment.


It’s worth noting how delicate the King Coconuts are. To avoid destroying the priceless fruits/nuts, they are carefully hand-harvested from the tall palm trees and lowered using ropes and pulleys.



To be continued…

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