By R. Bourdeix, V. Saena Tuia and Alofa Leuluaialii

This website returns the information collected during two scientific visits conducted in 2001 and 2010, on behalf the Ministry of Agriculture of Samoa, the International Coconut Genetic Resources Network, the Secretatiat of the South Pacific Community, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, Bioversity International and the French Centre for Agricultural Research and Development. The objective of the second visit was to secure the conservation of the famous Niu Afa cultivar, the longest coconut in the world.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Christophersen, 1935: varieties and forms of the coconut palm

Extracts from:

Christophersen, E. "Flowering plants of Samoa." Bulletin/Bernice P. Bishop Museum (128) Show all parts in this series (1935).

Cocos nucifera Linnaeus: Sp. Pl., p. 1188, 17853.

Tau: cultivated, Luma, male flower, young fruit, January 10, 1922, Garber no.703. Savaii: cultivated, Manase, fruit, August 24, 1931, nos. 3611 and 3612; cultivated, Salailua, fruit, October 1931, mos 3614, 3615, and 3616; cultivated, Foailuga-Fogasavaii, altitude 25 meters, fruit, October 1931, no. 3613; cultivated, Tanga, fruit, October 6, 1931, no. 3617. Native name, niu. The coconut palm is everyshere in cultivation, copra being the principal export article of the islands. Several distinct forms are to be found:

Ini'ini: fruits are said to be small with thin shell, heavy endosperm, and very little or no juice. The meat is usually taken out entire and dried without being cut.

La'ita: a relatively small tree with clusters of numerous, small fruits of a light yellowish-brown color. The juice is sweet so that the fruit are favored for drinking purposes, but on account of their size they are seldom, if ever, used for copra. Specimen no. 3614.

Niu 'afa: Large, relatively long narrow fruits the husk of which is favored for the making of sennit ('afa). One fruit measured in the submature stage (niu sami) at Manase was 32cm long and broad. Specimen no. 3612

Niu alava: The fruits are said to be of a very light green color.

Niu le'a : The dwarf coconut palm, with stocky stem and a dense crown of heavy, stiff leaves not graciously arching like the xommon form. It starts to bear at an early age.

Niu tauanga: Fruits oblong with almost parallel sides (one mature specimen 28 by 16.5cm). The fiber of the husk is used for making strainers for coconut cream. Specimen no. 3615.

Niu tauave: A very distinct form, the fruits being borne sessile directly on the rachis of the branchless spadix. The fruiting spadix is drooping. The fruits ae short and relarively broad (one mature specimen 21 by 16cm). The nut is flattened at the apex. Specimen no. 3613.

Niu tau lua sami: The fruits are smaller than those of niu vai, used as water bottles in pairs for carrying salt water for palusami.

Niu tetea: Fruits in the submature stage (niu sami) are light yellowish green to almost white. Form of fruit ovate (one specimen 25.5 by 16cm). Specimen no. 3616.

Niu vai: The fruits arel large and rounded, the nus being used for water bottle. One submature fruit in Manase was 25.5cm long and 22.5 cm broad. Specimen no. 3611.