Tall coconut trees (or typica) are a fast-growing, naturally cross-pollinating group that today has a great economic value for its oil and fiber production. They can grow more than 50 centimeters (1.5 feet) annually, they flower and have their first fruits at 6-10 years of age and have an economic life of between 60-70 years. Tall coconuts grow to between 20-30 meters (65-100 feet).
The fruits of the tall coconut are oblong and angular with a thick fibrous husk that floats really well but is difficult to crack into and contains relatively little milk: this type of fruit is called nui kafa in the Samoan language of Polynesia. The tall trees bear fruit all year round and average 40 nuts per year, with an average copra (coconut meat) production of some 200 grams (7 ounces) per nut.
Dwarf coconut trees (or nana) usually grow to 8-10 meters (26-32 feet) tall after twenty years, and start flowering in the third year when less than one meter (~3 feet) tall. Dwarf trees bear fruit seasonally, average about 80-100 nuts a year but with only 80-100 grams (3-3.5 ounces) of copra per nut. They have a productive life of some 30-40 years. Dwarf trees account for only about 5% of the total coconut palms in the world.
Dwarf coconut fruit (called nui vai in Polynesia) are round and often brightly colored with a higher quantity of coconut milk protected by a thinner husk. Dwarf forms are found near human habitations; they are considered a more highly domesticated form that is descended from tall forms.
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