Is a coconut a fruit or a vegetable?

Is a coconut a fruit or a vegetable?

There are various types of fruits and vegetables all around the world. We can identify many of them easily as fruit or a vegetable. Also, there are some other types, that there are some confusions to consider as fruit or a vegetable. Olives, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, pumpkin, and cucumber are some of them and here we are going to consider coconut. Is a coconut a fruit or a vegetable?  


Coconut is a tropical fruit that grows on a tree, and botanically, it is a fibrous, one-seeded drupe. It has a seed that is encased in a tough shell and flesh similar to the meat of a coconut.

The pulp-filled, sweet-tasting seed of the delicate coconut can consume as food. The coconut is a fruit with a 20 to 30 centimeter diameter and a minimum weight of 2.5 kilograms. It is made up of a fibrous mesocarp with another hard, brown, and downy inner component and a thick outer shell (exocarp) that might be green or yellowish in color.

Its endocarp, or the part to which the pulp (endosperm) is connected, is fragrant and white. Because it contains a lot of water and is rich in vitamins and minerals, coconuts have long been utilized as food, particularly in tropical nations.

Is a coconut a fruit or a vegetable? According to the above information, we can conclude that botanically coconut is a fruit. 

Is a coconut a vegetable?

Now we know that coconut is a fruit drupe. Then we have the next confusion. Is it a vegetable or not?

“Parts of plants that can and are consumed by people or animals as a food source” is the definition of a vegetable. The term “vegetable” still has its original meaning today and frequently uses to refer to all plant material that is edible, including the leaves, stalks, flowers, fruits, roots, and seeds. So, based on the definition given above, a coconut may qualify as a vegetable. 

However, “a fruit which is a seed-bearing development that develops and matures from a blooming plant’s ovary” is a better general definition of a coconut as a fruit.

When considering the modern definition of a vegetable, it also includes “mature fruits that can be eaten as part of the main meal.” According to this, coconuts are often not eaten as part of the main course. Therefore, coconut is not regarded as a vegetable.

What is a drupe?

A drupe is a fruit having a seed with a hard covering. All drupes have three distinct layers: the exocarp (outside layer), the mesocarp (middle fleshy layer), and the endocarp layer (hard, a woody layer that protects and surrounds the seed). Peaches, apricots, olives, plums, cherries, and mangoes are drupe examples.

Why is a coconut a fruit drupe?

This is because coconut has three layers also. As I have mentioned before, there is a skin, also known as the exocarp, a fleshy center, also known as the mesocarp, and a hard, woody shell that encases the seed, also known as the endocarp. So, coconut is a fruit drupe.

The huge, tough-shelled portion of the coconut that contains the water and meat is the seed. On the end of the shell is a tiny embryo that will ultimately sprout and develop into a new coconut tree. Since coconut seeds are designed for lengthy travels, the flesh and water reserve inside the coconut provide the seed with enough nourishment and sustenance to grow.

Is a coconut a nut?

Because coconut is a single-seeded fruit that grows on a tree, it can be classified as a tree nut. Botanists define a nut as a sort of fruit with a shell and a seed. The coconut bears a seed inside a tough outer shell.

However, they are not true nuts in the sense that they sprout from the end of the hard shell after germinating. After that, when the coconut sprout develops, these hard shell cracks open. 

True nuts, like walnuts or brazil nuts, do not split apart to release their seeds when ripe. Before the seed is liberated and may sprout, the hard shell of a real nut, like a walnut, must rot and degrade.

This explains the widespread confusion regarding the coconut’s status as a nut and we can conclude that coconut is not a true nut.

Is a coconut a seed?

Since a seed is an immature plant or “baby plant,” which in the case of coconut is its hard shell, coconut can also be appropriately referred to as a seed. Three germination pores, also known as eyes or pores, are located at the end of a coconut, through which the sprout breaks through the hard shell. Because it is the reproductive component of the coconut tree, the coconut is also a seed.

According to all the above facts, finally, we can say that coconut is a fruit and a seed. Also, it is not a vegetable and a true nut.

Benefits of coconut

It is important to know about the health benefits of coconut when considering facts under the topic of “Is a coconut a fruit or a vegetable?”

High nutritional properties

Coconuts are primarily a source of fat, unlike many other fruits that are high in carbohydrates. 

They also include B vitamins, numerous essential minerals, and protein. 

However, they are not a substantial source of the majority of other vitamins. 

Numerous bodily processes rely on the nutrients found in coconuts. 

Manganese, which is crucial for the health of bones and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol, is particularly abundant in coconuts. 

They are also a good source of selenium, a vital antioxidant that safeguards cells. 

As well as copper, iron, and zinc, all of which aid in the formation of red blood cells.

Contain powerful antioxidants

Phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants that can help shield cells from oxidative damage, are present in coconut meat.

Examples are,

  • Caffeic acid
  • Gallic acid
  • Salicylic acid

According to laboratory experiments on coconut meat, dangerous substances called free radicals, which are a factor in chronic disease can be neutralized by them. Another test-tube study found that some antioxidants in coconut may even help prevent DNA damage.

Coconut has antibacterial effects

According to certain studies, coconut oil may be able to prevent the growth of particular bacterial strains. 

For instance, a test-tube investigation found that virgin coconut oil could stop the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that is responsible for staph infections.

Improve skin health

People usually use coconut oil to add moisture to their skin and hair. 

Because it enhances the function of the skin barrier. Coconut oil can help seal moisture into the skin to treat dryness and address eczema.

May support healthy blood pressure

Potassium is a mineral that aids in balancing sodium levels in the body and controlling blood pressure

This is present in coconut water and is a good source of it.

Health risk of coconut

It is also important to know about the health risk of coconut when considering facts under the topic of “Is a coconut a fruit or a vegetable?”

Coconuts have a lot of calories due to their high-fat content. If you don’t make up the extra calories somewhere else or change your diet, they could cause weight gain depending on your calorie requirements and intake.

Some studies indicate that coconut oil may raise levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease. Even though research indicates that eating saturated fats does not increase your chance of developing heart disease, some medical associations, such as the American Heart Association, advise keeping your daily intake to less than 5 to 6 percent of total calories.

Coconut allergies do exist, however, they are uncommon. If you have this allergy, you should stay away from anything made with coconut.


Is a coconut a fruit or a vegetable? This is the main point that we have discussed in this article. Now you know that coconut is a fruit and it is not a vegetable. Also, we can consider it as a seed too. Not only that but also you can know the very important benefits of coconut by reading this. Also, there are health risks of coconut too. So, I hope this may be a very valuable article for you for your knowledge and your life.

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