Lodoicea maldivica divided and mounted with a copper band, 28cm high
Given to Lord Glenconner by Jerry Hall on the occasion of his 60th birthday at The Peacock Ball held in Mustique, January 1987.
These palm tree nuts are unique to the Seychelles, and can still be found on the islands of Praslin and Curieuse but formerly occurred on St. Pierre, Chauve-Souris and Ile Ronde before becoming extinct. The palm grows to 25-34 metres tall and contains the largest seed in the plant kingdom. The fruit, often known as the sea coconut, was first seen floating in the sea by sailors who imagined it resembled a woman's disembodied buttocks. This fanciful association is reflected in one of the plant's archaic botanical names, Lodoicea Callipyge, deriving from the Greek word meaning 'beautiful rump'; the suffix 'Callipyge' was also used to describe the goddess Venus/Aphrodite.
Until the true source of the nut was discovered in 1768, it was believed by many to grow on a mythical tree at the bottom of the sea. European nobles in the sixteenth century would often have the shell of these nuts cleaned and decorated with valuable jewels as collectables for their private galleries.