We made an early morning visit to the ‘Vallee de Mai’, the last remnant of the original high-canopied Seychelles palm forest and home to the coco de mer. We walked on good paths through the forest and saw the rare blue pigeon (that looks grey with a white collar - see above) and the endemic black parrot (right) that can only be found on Praslin Island. The black parrot is the national bird of the Seychelles.
The Coco De Mer:
The Coco de Mer (Lodoicea maldivica), a monocot tree in the Arecaceae (palm family), has the largest seeds (double nut seed) of any plant in the world. Mature palms can grow grow to a height of 25–34 metres (82–112 ft). It is fan-shaped with leaves 7–10 metres (23–33 ft) long and 4.5 metres (15 ft) wide, and its petioles (stems) are 4 metres (13 ft) long. The weight of its largest fruit was 42 kilograms (93 lb). Male and female parts occur on separate plants. The male catkins contain lots of pollen which are carried by the small lizards to the female plant, as well as providing a food source for the animals. The life cycle is:3 to 6 months – the seed germinates6 to 7 years – the nut ripens.15 years - The palm develops a trunk but it can take much longer. 20 to 30 years – normal time for maturity, however, it has been known to mature as early as 15 years. You can tell the sex of the palm after it first flowers when it reaches maturity.Next it was off to the beach for cool drinks and a stroll.