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HomeUncategorizedCocoa de mer: The fight to save the world's largest Cocoa seed

Cocoa de mer: The fight to save the world’s largest Cocoa seed

Seychelles: The cocoa de mer seed, a rare palm endemic to islands of Seychelles is fighting for survival. Shrouded in folklore and legends, the palm is found growing naturally on only two of Seychelles’ 115 islands – Praslin, the second largest island in the country after Mahe, and nearby Curieuse.

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With only about 8,000 mature trees in existence today, the plant is named as endangered on endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

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The coco de mer palm is dioecious – it has separate male and female plants that can take up to 50 years to reach sexual maturity, depending on environmental conditions – and its extremely slow growth rate has contributed to its endangered status. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, there was also a thriving black market for the shell, which led to poaching in protected areas. Other threats include forest fires, erratic rainfall because of climate breakdown, and pests and disease.

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Now conservationists have turned to the islanders to help secure the palm’s future. Under a scheme launched last summer, residents were invited to apply for permission to plant up to five coco de mer seeds each on their property.

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