According to coconut manufacturers and exporters, Philippine varieties are among the best for consumption as a food product, specifically cocowater and meat, as well as production into other products such as coconut oil and sugar.
In the Philippines where coconut is one of the most important agricultural products, it is very serious business growing the best variety for exportation. The Philippine Coconut Authority identified two outstanding coconut dwarf varieties that have met strict international standards for young coconut production: the galas green and Tacunan green dwarf. Both have passed with flying colors the requirements for the circumference of the fruit, the weight of the meat, water content, meat thickness and firmness.
Physically, galas greens have a uniform spherical shape, predominantly average-sized with a thick husk and a well-balanced crown. The trees have a stout stem with tapering base, slow upward growth, and with either green or yellow peduncle.
To the ordinary consumer though, a coconut is a coconut and the important thing is being able to buy and consume it for its refreshing quality and health benefits. To the non-coconut producing country, consumers will just make the most of what is available whether it’s a whole fruit, or processed and packaged in bottles or cartons.
While some produce like apples and oranges have clearly different varieties several of which are available for consumers to select from, coconuts varieties usually are just limited to a few per area you source from. The varieties grown by countries are oftentimes have common names derived from their origin.
Tall coconut tree varieties include the Malayan, Renner and Samoan tall which grow up to an impressive 70 foot height with a characteristic bole or a swollen base at the trunk. Though it may seem labor intensive and even risky to cultivate and collect fruit from such tall trees, the height also serves as a security measure against pilferage in the vast plantations in developing countries where they grow.
The dwart coconut, on the other hand have crowns (leaf canopies) that sometimes grow so close to the ground that the harvester doesn’t even have to climb anything and simply reach down (not up) to collect the fruit. Fruits from this tree variety, which are also used in tropical ornamental gardens) are smaller but in more productive bunches. The Papua yellow, Samoan and Fiji dwarf and Cameroon red, the Malayan yellow and Nias Green grow, mature and yield fruit much faster.
Hybrid coconut result both from natural means (cross pollination) as well as through man-made engineering. These are developed by coconut horticulturists who combine ideal tree and traits of different varieties to yield much sturdier trees and more nutritious fruits with better water and meat quality.
Macapuno or coconut sport is considered a mutant variety with a curiously thick gelatinous meat with little or no water. Popular in the Philippines, it is usually sweetened and sold in jars in a sticky syrup for use in native sweets and desserts.