Kate and Wills have been given a kinky souvenir by the Seychelles government after spending their honeymoon there. The Coco-de-mer is a rare, protected fruit renowned for its erotic appearance – underneath the husk it’s shaped like female buttocks.
The fruit is a bit of a mystery say ecologists, as we don’t know how it’s pollinated, how long it lives, or why it only grows in the Seychelles. It’s the world’s largest seed and grows in the Vallee de Mai on Praslin, the second largest island in the Seychelles. It has a strong survival strategy, says ecologist Chris Kaiser-Bunbury. ‘There’s nowhere on earth like the Vallee de Mai,’ he told Tim Ecott (the Beeb’s Own Correspondent). ‘All this dead matter (dry leaves beneath the tree) prevents any other plants taking root and competing with the cocos-de-mer.’ When the wind blows it groans and moans, huddling close to its neighbour.
The Coco-de-mer trees are also distinctly male and female. The male produces cock-shaped catkins dotted with masses of yellow flowers – the inspiration for the flower scene in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, I wonder? The female tree bears nuts, which grow for seven years before dropping (the seven year-itch!?).
Locals have several juicy names for the nut: ‘Coco fesse’ (bum nut), ‘bum seed’, ‘love nut’, ‘sea coconut’, ‘double coconut’ and ‘beautiful rump’. The Chinese believe its meat is an aphrodisiac, and it’s also used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine.
You can buy a coco-de-mer fruit but it’s not cheap, quite rightly, and you’ll need an export permit to take it home. Worth it though, as it’s definitely a cheeky addition to the boudoir. I think each Coco de Mer boutique should have one on display.