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Why Do Coconuts Lean Over Water

Discussion in 'PALM TREES - WHERE TROPICAL STARTS' started by Dypsisdean, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,845
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    At times when at the water's edge I can't help but notice that the coconuts are always leaning out and over the water. I have heard it theorized they do this to get more light. I have also heard the novel idea that they do this so the nuts will fall into the water and float away. Another possible reason could be that the ocean washes away the soil/sand on that side so they lean in that direction. Or that they grow into the wind which usually comes from that direction.

    I am not satisfied with any of these answers really. And I see exceptions that would cast doubt on each of these theories. But if you pay attention, it does appear as if most of them know where the ocean is and will grow over it if given a choice. Does anyone know why? Or do you have another suggestion?

    coco.jpg
     
  2. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,816
    Dean, I have been told that the lean was do to the sunlight reflecting off the open water. I really have no idea why they do, but would think it may just be a little of all theories stated.
     
  3. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,845
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Well, it's probably all of those Darwinian things rolled into one, because the coconuts that lean over the water have the most chance of getting their fruit to fall into it and get distributed far and wide - to do the same thing on another shore. But I'm going to have to pay more attention to the groves of coconuts that are not near any water. I believe I have seen some a considerable distance from the water, with the majority still leaning that way. I'll have to pay more attention in the future.

    Second thought: if it was just the light as you suggested, then wouldn't most palms lean that way too?
     
  4. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,816
    With buoyant fruit it is likely for the spread of the palm across the oceans and seas. Here is a picture of a grove with the lean likely to break a few windshields of passing cars. :eek:
     

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  5. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,845
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Scott,

    Do you know if that is the ocean on the right side of that pic? If so, this is what I was talking about. What ever it is that is causing them to lean, they are all responding in the same way. Even the ones farther down the street.

    Maybe they can smell the salt water.
     
  6. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,816
    Dean, Looks as if the ocean is to the right in the prev. picture. Here is another pic. with no ocean and the lean to the right and lean to the left. Maybe these palms are dancing.
     

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  7. Dypsisdean

    Dypsisdean Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,845
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii - Kona
    Scott,

    Interesting - I know there is a clue there somewhere. There seems to be some kind of "consensus" of factors causing those on one side to all go one way, and those on the other to do the same but opposite - and I don't think it's the music. :)
     
  8. MattyB

    MattyB Moderator

    Messages:
    449
    Location:
    Spring Valley, CA
    If it's not the ocean eroding the roots causing them to fall over slowy then I think it's light. All of my palms lean towards the south which is where the most light comes from. Most tall Washingtonias end up growing with a lean to the south as well.
     
  9. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,947
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    I can't believe with the knowledgeable palm people participating in this thread, they don't know the answer. :rolleyes:






























































































    They like looking at the fishys. :eek:
     
  10. ScotTi

    ScotTi Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    4,816
    The answer is probably as simple as the answer to: What came first the chicken or the egg? :D Or in the pictured case: The chiconut or the coconut.
     

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