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The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word. The term is derived from 16th century Portuguese and Spanish cocos, meaning "grinning face", from the three small holes on the coconut shell that resemble human facial features.
Found across much of the tropic and subtropic area, the coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many domestic, commercial, and industrial uses of its different parts. Coconuts are part of the daily diet of many people. Its endosperm is initially in its nuclear phase suspended within the coconut water. As development continues, cellular layers of endosperm deposit along the walls of the coconut, becoming the edible coconut "flesh". When dried, the coconut flesh is called copra. The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is a refreshing drink and can be processed to create alcohol. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. It also has cultural and religious significance in many societies that use it.