Prince William and Kate Middleton flew home on Friday from their Seychelles honeymoon after being presented with the world’s most erotic fruit – the Coco de Mer.
The fruit – which can weigh up to 30kg and grow to 40-50 cm in diameter – was given to the royal couple by Foreign Minister Jean-Paul Adam on behalf of Seychelles President James Michel at a special ceremony on Mahé, the main island, as the couple ended their luxury 10-day stay on the island. They were granted a special licence to bring the world’s rarest fruit home.
There is bound to be a huge spike in interest in this fruit given the publicity surrounding Wills and Kate.
The “love nut” – which bears a striking resemblance to a pair of female buttocks – only grows in the Vallée de Mai nature reserve on Praslin Island.
It is regarded in the Seychelles as a powerful aphrodisiac and revered as a fertility symbol. Such is its value that an auction website has set minimum bids for a 19th Century Coco de Mer at £300.
Sailors found its empty husks floating in Asian waters for thousands of years, but no one knew where the Coco de Mer came from. Superstitious crews saw what they described as a woman’s rear end floating under the waves, and imagined that it grew on underwater trees or marked the presence of sea nymphs.
For centuries these unique coconuts washed ashore on the beaches of India, Maldives and Sri Lanka. The suggestive shape of the world’s largest plant seed made it famous, and they were sold the world over as a symbol of fertility. They were often expensively decorated with gems, gold and silver becoming the prized possession of kings and rulers.
An entire cult revolved around the empty shells in India, where they frequently washed up on shore. They were used as ritualistic water vessels by priests and Hindu holy men still use them for begging bowls.
In tantra it’s revered as Yoni, a symbol of creation and fertility. Some say the dried kernel can be used as an aphrodisiac or as a kind of natural Viagra.
The tree grows to 25–34 m tall. The leaves are fan-shaped, 7–10 m long and 4.5 m wide with a 4 m petiole. It is dioecious, with separate male and female plants. The fruit is sometimes also referred to as the Sea Coconut, Bum Seed, Love Nut, the butt nut, double coconut, the pubic fruit, coco fesse, or Seychelles Nut.
The seed of the Coco de Mer is the largest in the plant kingdom. This makes it too heavy to float and too large to be carried off by smaller animals.
It takes 6-7 years for a fruit to mature and a further two years for it to germinate into a new plant. Only 1,769 fruits reach maturity each year, and given that a hundred thousand tourists visit the Seychelles yearly, there aren’t enough to go around.
After a 1990 forest fire and years of development, there are only 24,457 coco de mer palms left on Praslin and Curieuse, half are male, and two-thirds are too young to bear fruit.
The sale of the fruits-though not the empty shells- is strictly prohibited by law, with the punishment of two years in prison and a $800 fine for those that try.
The shells of the fruit are life-sized simulations of the female reproductive regions, including hips, stomach, thighs, pubis, and even a tuft of hair right where you’d expect it to be. The back resembles nothing more than a shapely rear end.
The tree’s woody female flowers are the size and shape of a woman’s breasts, with an ovule right where you’d expect to find a nipple.
The male flower are catkin-like that can grow up to 1 m and looks essentially like a giant erection-sporting penis.
Under the salacious husk lies a custard-like flesh that only a lucky few get to taste.
The few people that get to taste them usually describe a sweet earthy taste with a hint of citrus. Some even say it tastes like breast milk!
“The Fruit Hunters,” author Adam Leith Gollner said coco de mer has a “mild citrus-like quality, refreshing and sweet with earthy, spunky notes. It tastes like coconut flesh, only sexier.”
How I would love to taste the forbidden fruit Coco de Mer. And it is a damn sexy one to boot.
Oh gosh! Mother Nature must be teasing us. Look at the nut again…need I say more?