dark brown in colour, and with a hinged lid, 25cm high, 23cm wide.
The coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica) is a palm found only in the islands of Praslin and Curieuse in the Seychelles. The fruit, which requires six to seven years to mature (and a further two years to germinate), is sometimes called the "Sea Coconut", "Double Coconut", "Coco Fesse" or "Seychelles Nut".
This nut was believed to have been a sea-bean or drift seed- a seed designed to be dispersed by the sea. However, it is now known that the nut is too heavy to float, and that only rotten nuts can be found on the sea surface: this explains why the trees are limited in range to just two islands.
Until the true source of the nut was discovered in 1768, many believed that it grew on a mythical tree at the bottom of the sea. In the 16th century, the European aristocracy decorated their coco de mers with precious jewels, and treasured them in their private galleries and "cabinets of curiosities".
The sailors who first saw the nut floating in the sea imagined that they resembled a woman's buttocks. This fanciful association is reflected in the plant's archaic botanical name, "Lodoicea callipyge"; "callipyge" meaning "beautiful rump" in Greek.