Stop By to See Our New Addition Growing Strong!
We are proud to announce the birth of our new Double Coconut Palm! A new seed was received from the Seychelles Islands in August 2012 and was planted in the Palm House. It has now sprouted and is growing rapidly. This new sprout replaces our original Double Coconut Palm (Lodoicea maldivica), which sadly died in 2011 after being the star attraction in the Palm House for 45 years. Stop by to see our new addition growing strong!
The previous Double Coconut, calculated to be the largest growing under glass, was planted in 1967. In 2011, after its death, the Garfield Park Conservatory staff was able to secure another rare Double Coconut seed. Seeds from this plant are difficult to obtain because the plant’s habitat is now a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site and the exportation of its plant materials is heavily restricted in order to preserve the endangered species living there. Koch Unni, floricultural foreman at the Garfield Park Conservatory, contacted the Seychelles Consulate and the Seychelles Island Foundation. After six months, the Conservatory obtained the necessary permits and a viable Double Coconut seed, weighing in at 20 pounds, was shipped to its new home. In addition to being rare and protected, the Double Coconut seed is the largest seed in the world.
The Conservatory staff consulted with Seychelles Islands scientists and other palm experts to ensure the seed was planted in optimal conditions. When it germinates, the Double Coconut sends out a radicle that forms a 10 - 15 foot root to anchor the seed to the ground. It then produces a seedling stem that eventually emerges above ground and produces the first leaf. Currently, the shoot in the Palm House is approximately six inches tall and is growing one centimeter per day. The new seed is planted underneath the tallest part of the 65 foot roof, so it will have plenty of room to grow. In the wild, Double Coconuts can reach heights of 100 feet.
You can learn more about the Garfield Park Conservatory's Double Coconut Palm by reading the Greenscapes Magazine article from Fall 2012 about the Conservatory's original palm and the planting of the new seed, as well as the full Press Release announcing the emergence of the new Double Coconut sprout. We hope you will come visit the new sprout in the Palm House to see it as it grows big and tall.