Lodoicea maldivica
Common Name: double coconut palm 
Type: Palm or Cycad
Family: Arecaceae
Native Range: Seychelles
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 90.00 to 100.00 feet
Spread: 50.00 to 60.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Catkin-like, purple (male) green-brown (female)
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy


Best grown in evenly moist, well-draining soil in full sun. Prefers warm, tropical climates. Hardy in Zones 10b (35°F) and above.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lodoicea maldivica, commonly called double coconut palm or coco-de-mer, is a large palm endemic to Praslin Island and Curieuse Island of the Seychelles. Mature specimens can reach over 100' tall with a straight, grey trunk topped with a crown of large, fan-shaped fronds that can reach up to 30' long and 15' wide. This plant is dioecious, meaning that separate individuals produce male and female flowers. The double coconut palm is perhaps most well-known for having the heaviest seed of any living plant (over 50 pounds). The fruits take up to 7 years to fully mature and contain the two-lobed seed. This is a very slow growing palm, taking 20 years or more to reach reproductive maturity from the seedling stage. Ripe, viable fruits sink in water, while dead or nonviable fruits float. This means that ocean currents are not a method of dispersion for this species and explains their narrow distribution.

The double coconut palm has high ecological and cultural significance to the Seychelles. Multiple animal species endemic to the Seychelles utilize this palm for shelter and food, including the Seychelles black parrot, Seychelles bulbul, and several species of gecko. Islanders have used the leaves to make baskets, mats, thatch for roofs, and other household materials. The hollowed and dried seeds were used for storing liquids. The seeds are erroneously believed to be a potent aphrodisiac within some cultures. This has greatly threatened wild populations due to poaching and illegal trade.

Genus name honors Louis XV of France (1710-1774).

The specific epithet maldivica means "of the Maldives" and refers to the island chain were the large nuts were often found washed ashore.

The common name double coconut palm refers to the two-lobed fruits. For centuries this plant was only known from the seeds, which would wash up onto the shores of the Maldives, India, and Sri Lanka. This is where the common name coco-de-mer, meaning "coconut of the sea", originated. The palm that produced these mysterious seeds was discovered in the 18th century on the then uninhabited Seychelles.


No major pest or disease problems of note.


An interesting specimen palm. Difficult to acquire due to its protected status and slow growth habit. Best enjoyed at botanical gardens or in its native habitat.