Culture
Coconuts and Cedars
-ByRani Iyer


You have to bend backwards to see a full grown coconut tree with its umbrella like fronds.
A coconut tree is useful in many ways. The fronds are woven together and used for thatching huts, and mid rib used to make broomsticks. The soft fibers of the nodes are used in packing and lining. The fruit has many uses. The outer husk is used as fuel, or made into coir from which mats and ropes are made. The kernel is edible and used in cooking. The dried kernels are called copra and are pressed for oil. Coconut oil is one of the best lubricants and used as a bio-diesel in Thailand. Oil is a popular ingredient in cosmetics, hair oil and shampoo. Coconut water is highly nutritious and curative. It is also used in tissue culture media. Coconut sap is fermented to yield toddy.

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The shells are made into utensils and also used to make charcoal. Whole coconut occupies an important role in rituals and festivals. Many of us have seen coconut all our lives and don’t think of them as exotic or beautiful.
Ask the people of the Pacific Northwest. They would think that you were talking about the “Tree of life” the red and yellow Cedar ( no way related to coconut ).
For centuries, people have used the wood of western red cedar (Thuja Plicata) and yellow Cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) to make canoes, house planks, totem poles, baskets, clothing, hats, dishes, arrows, spears, hangers, dip-net hooks, fish clubs, masks, rattles, benches, cradles, coffins, ceremonial drum logs, combs, fishing floats, berry-drying racks, and paddles. The wood is used to drill and start friction fires, which are excellent for drying fish. Barks of medium sized trees are stripped, beaten and sun dried. Then by further beating layers or fibers are separated from which ropes, baskets and mats are made. The bark of yellow cedar was woven into soft blankets and made into robes, hats, and capes that repel water. Shredded bark was also used as bandages, washcloth and towels. Leaves and cones are used with sweat-bath to cure rheumatism.
Exposed young roots are debarked, and split lengthwise to make cradles and baskets. The coiled-root baskets of various sizes and shapes are decorated with geometric patterns and dyed with the natural colors. Long, slender cedar branches are used to make- ropes, fish traps, binding material and open-weave baskets.
Culture and places change, but the pivotal role of just one species shows that nature can provide man’s needs from cradle to grave.



User's Comments                     
SHAKTI SINGH
Nice website with nice pictures and information for all classes.
noanee
Coconut tree is called complete life giving tree because, cocont tree quenches the thirst, feeds the hungry, you can make canoe and go fishing, you can build your house ,you can cook ,and also keep it clean.
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