World's Largest, Heaviest Seed

What do guavas, strawberries, kiwifruits and dragon fruits have in common?

These fruits have very tiny seeds that are impossible not to eat because they are part of the whole package of the edible parts of the fruit.  In fact, the seeds add flavor and texture to each fruit.

Some fruits have seeds that are a bit larger than those mentioned, seeds that should not be eaten but we sometimes accidentally swallow because of their small size like in oranges, grapes and watermelons.

Most of the time, we would just ignore these small kernels.

But there’s one seed that will really make you pay attention.

The Coco-de-mer (Lodoicea maldivica) is a palm that can only be found in the islands of Praslin and Curieuse in the island country of Seychelles.

The palms take between 25-50 years to reach maturity and bear fruit.

The fruit, which takes six to seven years to ripen, is also referred as the double coconut because it is usually two-lobed. It is also flattened, ovoid and pointed, and encloses one but sometimes two to four shells.

The mature fruit, which can measure up to 50 centimeter in diameter and weighs up to 30 kilograms, contains the world’s largest and heaviest seed.

But that’s not all. The seed is also one of the most unique in the plant kingdom.

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The Coco-de-mer is also called Love Nut or Bum Seed because the shell looks like a life-size human female anatomy. In fact, the shells sometimes come complete with stomach, hips, thighs, pubis and even a bunch of hair and the back looks like a well-formed rear end.

The Lodoicea maldivica is a threatened species.

A 1990 forest fire reduced its population to only 24,457 palms.

A 2005 census counted only 1,769 fruits that reach maturity annually, less in number compared to the almost one hundred thousand tourists who visit the Seychelles to see this world wonder.

Selling the fruits is strictly prohibited by law. But still, poachers pose a very big problem as the seeds command high prices on the tourist market.  Thieves who would come on fishing ships in the middle of the night would even cut down the entire trees just to get these beautiful, rare and  highly prized nuts.