Sunday, May 18, 2008

Help Gilligan Get Off the Island!

Scientists from the Ivory Coast are trying to sell a rare, multi-headed coconut tree for $1 million.

While the multiple heads is extremely rare, it is usually due to insect attack or other damage done to the tree in its youth, but this particular plant shows no signs of damage, suggesting the rarity may be genetic. The scientists have multiplied the tree about 150 times to see if the mutation will be duplicated, but it will take about 20 years to find out.

The tree was brought in from Malaysia some 40 years ago and produces about 150 fruits a year, as opposed to the usual 30-60 from single-headed varieties. The money is to fund the Marc Delorme research station, which has been around since the 1940s and is struggling in the wake of the Ivorian civil war.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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