Friday, June 24, 2011

Natural habitat

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall , which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity, like the south eastern Andalusia, even where temperatures are high enough .
Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather. Optimum growth is with a mean annual temperature of 27 °C , and growth is reduced below 21 °C . Some seasonal variation is tolerated, with good growth where mean summer temperatures are between 28–37 °C , and survival as long as winter temperatures are above 4–12 °C ; they will survive brief drops to 0 °C . Severe frost is usually fatal, although they have been known to recover from temperatures of −4 °C . They may grow but not fruit properly in areas where there is not sufficient warmth, like Bermunda.
The conditions required for coconut trees to grow without any care are:
  • mean daily temperature above 12-13 °C every day of the year
  • 50 year low temperature above freezing
  • mean yearly rainfall above 1000 mm
  • no or very little overhead canopy, since even small trees require a lot of sun
The main limiting factor is that most locations which satisfy the first three requirements do not satisfy the fourth, except near the coast where the sandy soil and salt spray limit the growth of most other trees .
The range of the natural habitat of the coconut palm tree is delineated by the red line in map C1 to the right .

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