by Paul McGehee. Beautiful Coconut Palm trees, which can grow as high
as 100' tall, produce a seed, a 'fruit' known as the coconut. Each tree
can produce as many as 75 coconuts a year. Coconuts derive their name
from the Portuguese “coco”, meaning “skull”, as the three dark patches
on the hard inner shell resembled eyes and a nose on a bone-like
exterior. Despite the hard shell covering (itself covered over by a
thick, greenish-tan “husk”) coconuts are not technically “nuts”.
Coconut Palms are found in tropical areas of the world; the one
depicted in this artwork is from the Eastern Caribbean island of Nevis.
The coconut meat is delicious and can be eaten many ways, from raw, to
cooked in soups or with seafood and meats, vegetarian dishes, cookies
and cakes, and countless other dishes. The young, green coconuts
contain a tasty gelatinous flesh within, called “jelly” by the
islanders. The cloudy to clear liquid inside a coconut is the “water”,
and has a lovely flavor all by itself. The coconut water is sometimes
erroneously called “milk”, however “coconut milk” is a separate product
produced from the processing of the flesh, pressing the juices out of
the grated coconut meat. Coconuts, as well as the Palm Tree they spring
from, are used in the production of many products besides food such as
fabric, rope, fiber for doormats and brushes, even coconut fiber for
stuffing mattresses. The dried “copra” from the seed can be used in the
production of oils used for cooking, cosmetics, soap, hair products,
and more. The husks can be used for fuel and making charcoal. The hard
shell of the coconut can also be made into bowls and other implements.
Where would radio's “Lone Ranger” be without coconut shells providing
the sound of the “thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver”? And
where would a future President have been, had he not written a message
on a coconut shell regarding the 11 survivors after the sinking of
PT-109 in the World War II Pacific? John F. Kennedy and his crew were
rescued when the coco-note was found...and years later, that shell with
the inscribed message for help sat on the President's desk at the White
House...and is now to be found in the John F. Kennedy Library.
Coconuts...having nothing to do with “cocoa” or “nuts”, but the world
depends upon the tree and the fruit for countless things, from ancient
times to today.
“Coconuts” is faithfully reproduced as an archival-quality print from
McGehee's original color pencil and acrylic artwork, each hand-signed
by the artist.