Jan 13, 2016

CIRAD Coconut GIS training in Vietnam: summary and planning

Dr Roland Bourdeix (CIRAD) was invited by the Department of Perennial Crop from the Research Institute for Oil and Oil Plants (IOOP) to organize a training on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) applied to coconut research and development.

Fourteen IOOP researchers and technical staff participated the training. The programme was intended to provide a global overview of the use of GIS in coconut research, and more specifically on the following points: 1) Multi functional landscape management and new trends in coconut conservation and breeding 2) collecting germplasm and integrate geographical and other data using the CGRD (Coconut Genetic Resources Database) and Kobotool box which allows to collect data from cell phones; 3) Managing ex situ genebank accessions and field’s experiment using CDM (coconut data management) and Microsoft Foxpro; 4) the Qgis and Diva-GIS software for managing geographical information. 5) Maxent to predict favorable cultivation zones and 6) Google Earth and other online tools for making interactive geographical representations. All the cited software except Bandicam and Foxpro are free or kindly provided by CIRAD; most of them are open source. Researchers were also trained to video making using Bandicam and Microsoft Movie Maker. Field visits were conducted in research centres and farmer's fields to test the gathering of data with android cell phones, and to prepare a project on assessing a traditional technique from Mekong farmers for reducing the vertical growth of coconut palms. About 10 GB of HD video shootings has been taken and a copy was let to IOOP. A short movie was co-produced during the training. Most of collected information was released online at the URL: http://coconutvietnam.blogspot.fr. Many of the new concept and ideas presented during this training comes from a recent book chapter (1) of an Indian CPCRI book and from the compilation of the Global Strategy for Conservation and Use of Coconut Genetic Resources, all in press. The training was prepared with the help of Dr Geo Coppens and Gaëlle Viennois, CIRAD researchers, and following a dedicated training provided by the CMAEE Join Research Unit in Montpellier, France. 

Day 1 - 18/01/2016

  • Presentation of CIRAD and its Joint Research Unit AGAP
  • Presentation of the provisional planning of the training
  • Generalities on coconut research in link with GIS; collecting germplasm; management of field data in ex situ gene banks; in situ conservation and multi functional landscape management; production of seed nut by farmers.
  • The CGRD (coconut genetic resources database) - how to extract latitude and longitude data
  • The use of CDM (Coconut Data Management by CIRAD)
  • The use of Maxent for predicting coconut cultivation zones
Day 2 - 19/01/2016

  • Use of Kobotool box software to collect data on Cell phones
  • Continuation on Kobotool box
  • Continuation on CDM
  • Use of Google Earth Pro

Day 3 -20/01/2016

  • Field visit of the Trang Bang Coconut Research Centre
  • Field visit of coconut farms and test of the kobotool box kit
  • Making geo-referenced videos and photos for transferring on line (Panoramio, Youtube, Google Earth)
Day 4 -21/01/2016
  • The software Qgis and Diva-Gis for managing GIS information
  • Continuation on Qgis and Diva-gis for managing GIS information. Using data from Vietnam researchers
  • Overview of CIRAD work on remote sensing techniques for detecting coconut palms
Day 5 -22/01/2015

  • Fields visits to Dong Go Coconut Research Centre. Test of Kobotool Box software.
  • Making geo-referenced videos and photos for transferring on line (Panoramio, Youtube, Google Earth)
Day 6 - 23/01/2016 (Saturday)

  • Visit of special coconut cultivation methods using salt tolerant coconut varieties for development in shrimp breeding sites. Genetic experiment for varietal tolerance to salinity.
  • Video shooting
Day 7 - 24/01/2016 (Sunday)

  • Visit of Kairong floating market and farmer’s fields.
  • Back to Ben Tré. 
  • Visit of Hung Phong community producing high-value coconut products and survey of  techniques for reducing the vertical growth of Tall-type coconut palms. Video shooting.
  • Back to Ho Chi Minh
Day 8 - 25/01/2016

  • Training of video making using Bandicam and Microsoft Movie Maker
  • Cleaning of Video shootings
  • Co-production of a short movie on a traditional technique for reducing the vertical growth of tall type coconut palms.
Day 9 - 26/01/2016


    • Open discussion and end of the training
    • Closing dinner with officials of IOOP and the Ministry of

    A list of the Fourteen IOOP researchers and technical staff who participated the training is available here. 


    (1) Bourdeix R., Perera L., Rivera R.L., Saena-Tuia V and Masumbuko L. 2016. Global coconut communities - status and strategies in in situ diversity management and utilization. In: Coconut: Global status and perspectives. Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasaragod, India. Submitted.

    Jan 11, 2016

    "Coconut bonzai": reducing the vertical growth of Tall-type coconut palms

    A traditional practice from farmers of the Mekong Delta

    This video can be see in HD or any lower resolution, please choose the best option according to the quality of your connection. Also available on the website of Diversiflora International

    In 1998, in the framework of an expertise on collecting strategies (Bourdeix et al, 1999[i]), the island of Hung Phong (01008N 10622E) in Mekong Delta was visited. While interacting with farmers, it appeared that what farmers called “Dwarf’ and “Tall” coconut palms did not fit with what was described in all other countries. More precisely, some coconut palms described by farmers as “Tall-types” had the typical stem of what is normally called “Dwarf”: a thin stem without any basal bulb, and very short internodes.
    We finally find an explanation (see fig. 1 and 2). In this island, farmers had a very special traditional practice, never described before (as far as we know).  

    Figure 1. View of different coconut stems. From left to right: Malayan Dwarf, Compact Dwarf, Indo-Atlantic Tall, Asian-Pacific Tall types of coconut varieties (Photos R. Bourdeix, Côte d’Ivoire).
    When 2 years old, the young tall coconut palm is removed from the ground, its roots and leaves are cut and, after that, the palm is planted again in the ground. Such palm will develop stem similar to those of Dwarf cultivars: no bole, very short internode distance and slow vertical growth. Farmers said that this practice causes a delay of about one year on the starting of production but does not affect the future performance of the palms.

    Figure 2. View of different coconut stems in Mekong Delta. Normal stem of a Tall-type coconut palm (left) in comparison with same variety treated for reducing growth (Photo R. Bourdeix, Vietnam).

    It could be very useful to to scientifically assess this traditional practice, for both extending the lifespan of accessions in ex situ Coconut field genebanks, and for proposing a new ways of cultivation making harvest and field management more convenient and safe.

    [i] Bourdeix, R., Baudouin, L., Ollivier, J., Labouisse, J.-P., 1999. COGENT consultancy report on coconut collecting strategy. CIRAD. Montpellier, France,

    Jan 9, 2016

    Kobotool Box for GIS training Vietnam

    KoBoToolbox is a suite of tools for field data collection for use in challenging environments, allowing to collect data using cell phones and tablets. The software is free and open source. Most of the  users are people working in humanitarian crises, as well as aid professionals and researchers working in developing countries. The team of developers and researchers are based in Cambridge, MA, as well as Colorado, Canada, and Chile.

    A google account was specially created for conducting this test (roland2016gis@gmail.com); Then a form for managing seed mother palms in farmers fields was developpend with the following data:
    • Palm number (so thu tu)
    • Name of farmer (ho va ten chu ho)
    • Group (Ap)
    • Community (Xa)
    • District (Huyen)
    • Province (Tinh)
    • Date of visit (Ngaybinhtuyen)
    • Surveyor name (Nguoibinhtuyen)
    • Coconut variety (Giong)
    • Stem marking (Ky hieu)
    • Longitude (kinhdodong)
    • Latitude (vidobac)
    • Nut/tree/year (trai/cay/nam)

    Collect Data on Any Device in Your Browser
    Code for first survey
    For iPhones or any other device that has a Web browser, use the following link to enter data - even offline:


    (Or if you have a barcode scanner
     on your phone, just scan the barcode
    on the right)

    Three videos to see:

    More videos avalaible on Youtube Kobotool box Channel

    Jan 6, 2016

    The Research Institute for Oil and Oil Plants (IOOP)

    Institute for Oil and Oil Plants (IOOP) 171 - 175 Ham Nghi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam.

    Mission and potential:
    • R&D, application, transfer R&D products derived from research activities that relevant to oils and oil plants, bio-fuel plants, essential oils and materials for oil-processing plant.
    • Production and doing business on oil crop seeds, essential oil seeds, bio-fuel plant seeds.
    • Formulation and design of oil crop development strategies, technical and investment feasibility studies.
    • Improve yield, production, quality of oil crops, essential oil crops, bio-fuel crops, ex-situ and on-farm conservation of these plant genetic resources.
    • Organize science services, technology transfering, trainings, production and doing business that are relevant to oils and oil plants, oil processing plant, consultancy work …
    • Quality analysis of oil and oil crop products, essential oil products for scientific research and quality management.
    • Cooperate with local and international partners to do research, production and trading oleochemicals products, oil plants and essential oils.

    The Dong Go Coconut Research Centre

    The Dong Go Coconut Research Centre

    Latitude: 10.21644 Longitude: 106.44994

    Satellite image of the Dong Go Research Centre

    Entrance of Dong Go Research Centre
    The centre was visited on 22 and 23th January 2016. It hosts the National Coconut Genebank of Vietnam.

    Each tall-type coconut accessions is composed of palms of different ages; the palms are progressively replaced when the first palms dye. The technique to replace the missing palms is based on open pollination within a block composed of different populations of the same variety (for instance Ta Tall). Inter cropping is conducted with various other crops, such as Jack fruit, Papaya, etc... Palms are numbered by a number of row, and a number of palm in the row painted on the stem.

    We made an almost complete tour at the borders of the gene bank. At North the centre is delimited by a road and a fence with some open entrance; at South is is delimited by a canal with no fence. At the east side, it is delimited by a small road with no fence, so people may easily come in  the gene bank and take coconuts. At the west side it is delimited by house, some of them used by the employees of the gene bank. Land tenure could become a problem. In the  past, about a sixth of the available land of the centre (on the West side) was already taken back by the local government  to conduct other activities.

    The centre presently serves as a gene bank only for coconut palm. It is advised to strengthen the involvement of the centre in conserving other tree crops. This option has several advantages, including to:
    •           Increase the global commitment to promote the importance of the gene bank. If more than one crop is conserved, gene bank will become increasingly mandatory and committed places for conservation of genetic resources. 
    •           Increase the visiting frequency to the gene bank. Researchers working in genetic resources of different crops will meet more frequently, exchange more information, and cooperate more closely.
    •           Make at least part of the gene bank closer to the planting systems used locally by farmers, as many of them practice inter cropping.
    •           Ensure a better agronomic management, especially for inter cropped fields that often require irrigation facilities and higher fertilization and will serve as demonstration fields.
    •           Benefit from the multi functional use of the landscape. Some coconut plantations, especially seed gardens, are generally surrounded by other tree crops for pollen isolation purposes. Instead of planting any tree crops, these buffers areas can also conserve genetic resources of appropriate species.

    A good opportunity could be to extend conservation activities in Dong Go to many other palm species. A large plot and part of the swampy areas could be planted with at least 20 other palms species. When adult, part of these palms could be sold to city and tourism landscaping units who generally buy such palm at a very good price (about 100 USD per meter of stem), and regularly replaced.
    Conversely, coconut conservation could also be integrated into many other agricultural research centres’ programmes within the tropics. Thousands of coconut palms are planted in these research centres without considering genetic resources and diversity aspects. Thus, developing multi functional land use is one of the highest priorities, and hence has thus recently been included as a new theme of the CGIAR research programme Forests Trees and Agroforests (FTA).
    For instance, in Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa, the CNRA is starting to implement this last approach by duplicating accessions of the International Coconut collection in Côte d’Ivoire. Simulated “coconut islands” will be planted in five of the 13 CNRA research centres scattered around the country. Coconut germplasm will be planted in isolated small units of about one hectare, each conserving only one Tall-type accession and each planted in reproductive isolation in the middle of other tree-crop plantations.

    Controlled Pollination Technique

    During the past 5 years, the technique of controlled pollination with bagging was not applied in Dong Go Research Centre. Some material remains, such as aluminium isolation box and green bags (French type). All experimentation were conducted using the techniques of open (natural) pollination and assisted pollination (emasculation of dwarf inflorescence in the seed garden and pulverization of pollen coming from another palm). The seed gardens, both in Dong go and Trang Bang, are not isolated by a sufficient buffer zone preventing pollen from outside to reach emasculated inflorescences. So it is advised to use the controlled pollination technique with bagging for research and rejuvenation purposes and to isolate the seed garden with large tree crops for improving the quality of the hybrid seed nuts.

    Jan 5, 2016

    The Trang Bang Seed Production Centre

    The Trang Bang Seed Production Centre was created in 1986.

    The Aromatic Green Dwarf Variety in the Seed Garden
    Many seednuts and seedlings of Aromatic
    are available for sale in Trang Bang
    There are two different blocks.
    Block 1: Latitude:   11.154703°; Longitude: 106.362496°
    Block 2: Latitude:  11.145110° Longitude: 106.375196°

    We made Polygones giving the areas:

    Block 1: 98.6 ha estimated
    Block 2: 8.97 ha estimated

    View of block 1 and 2

    Superposition with map

    Here is the first map

    Map of Trang bang seed garden block 1

    The image adress to use on google earth is:


    The coconut varieties cultivated in the seed garden are mainly Aromatic Green Dwarf (imported long time ago from Thailand); Macapuno tall from embryo vitro culture; hybrids between Malayan Red and Yellow Dwarfs  and Makapuno Tall (pollen imported from the Philippines). During the period 2011-2015, about 160 000 seedlings were produced y IOOP seedgarden. Presently the cost of seednuts is partially supported by the government and they are sold to Vietnamese farmers at 2 USD per piece. Be care that the germination rate of the Aromatic Green Dwarf is generally lower than those of most other Dwarf coconut varieties, and that only 50 to 60% of the AROD seednuts will finally give good seedlings to be planted in the field.

    A plot of Malayan Yellow Dwarf (MYD) is designed for production of DxT hybrids. The pollen used is from the Hijo Tall variety (imported from the Philippines). This seed garden is not surrounded by a sufficient zone serving as a pollen barrier; such a barrier could be made for instance with forest trees, rubber or other tree crops. So contamination may occurs, and part of the seed nuts released are probably crosses of the MYD with the Aromatic Green Dwarf.

    Trang Bang coconut Seed garden

    In some emasculated MYD inflorescences, we saw a strange accumulation of dried sap at the bottom of the female flowers. This could be due to insect attacks. The same was also observed on a Xiem Green Dwarf in an hotel of Ben tre city, so it seems that this pest is widely distributed.

    A few MYD palms have a strange habit of the terminal parts of the upper leaves. Boron deficiency was suggested as the cause but, in the opinion of Dr R. Bourdeix, it is very rare to observe boron deficiency on adult palms.

    The seed garden is far from the see and some problems of Chlorine deficiency may happen. It is advised to sometimes provide salt to palms to avoid this problem.

    A MYD palm in the seed garden is branched (two heads). It is quite rare to observe this phenomenon in Dwarf types.

    Coconut palms are inter cropped with commercial Jack fruit trees, and some large new plots are inter planted with dragon fruit and coconut palms. Some plots are planted with rubber trees. In the future, it could be useful to plant germplasm collection of jack fruit, Dragon fruits and other crops instead of commercial material only. This will need agreements between the various Vietnamese institutions presently working separately on different crops.

    Aromatic coconut and Jack Fruit intercropped in Trang Bang

    Coconut and Dragon fruit intercropped in Trang Bang

    Jan 4, 2016

    Old botanical and ethnological studies about coconut in Vietnam

    Information from old botanical and ethnological studies is often very useful to better understand the past and present dynamics of coconut cultivation, and help to locate best places for identification and collection of interesting gerplasm. Hereunder is some research conducted by Dr Roland Bourdeix on old french books that will help Vietnamese researchers in their tasks. The most interesting description of Vietnamese varieties was found in 1924 (see traduction in blue). Most of documents comes from Gallica.



    In : Exploration et missions de Doudart de Lagrée, capitaine de frégate... : extraits de ses manuscrits / mis en ordre par M. A.-B. de Villemereuil,... 1883.

    Chacun produit seulement ce qui est nécessaire à sa consommation particulière. Le sol s'y prête, il est facile et propre à toutes les cultures. Ainsi il n'est pas rare de trouver sur les bords du Mékong une habitation isolée ayant autour d'elle des manguiers, palmiers, bananiers, aréquiers, cocotiers, mûriers, indigo, plantes à gourdes, riz, maïs, bétel, Un peu de tabac, et du coton. Ils ne vendent rien, n’achètent rien : c'est un trait caractéristique qui se rencontre rarement à un pareil degré.


    Everyone is only producing what is necessary for its particular use. The soil is suitable for all crops. Thus it is not rare to find, on the banks of the Mekong, isolated households with around mango, palm, banana, areca, coconut, mulberry, indigo, gourds plants, rice, maize, betel, A few tobacco and cotton are also grown. These people do not sell anything, they do not buy anything: this is a specific feature that is rarely found at such a level.


    In: Rapport au Grand conseil des intérêts économiques et financiers et au Conseil de gouvernement. Fonctionnement des divers services indochinois (Gouvernement général de l'Indo-Chine).1910-1939.

    On rencontre le cocotier presque partout en Cochinchine mais la culture en est plus particulièrement en faveur dans les provinces de My-tho, Ben-tre et Vinh-long. A My-tho, elle couvre une superficie de 4.900 hectares environ. A Ben-tre et à Vinh-long, elle s'étend sur une surface à peu près égale : 3500 hectares environ.
    Les principales variétés cultivées sont le « dua xiêm », le « dua ta », le « dua lu a », le « dua tân quan » et le « dua bi », les fruits des quatre premières variétés sont consommés à l'état vert ou sec. Seuls, les fruits de la dernière variété, les « dua bi » ne sont utilisés que lorsqu'ils sont secs ; c'est cette variété qui fournit le coprah.
    La culture du cocotier ne semble pas avoir pris d'extension en 1916. A Vinhlong, quelques propriétaires ont bien essayé d'étendre leurs plantations, mais ils l'ont fait sans méthode; les arbres sont, pour la plupart, trop rapprochés les uns des autres et forment des boqueteaux où ils manquent d'air et ne donnent pas un rendement normal.
    Il convient, toutefois, de signaler un essai fait à Bien-hoà par la Société d'An-loç sur une superficie de 200 hectares. Cet essai, tenté en terre rouge et sur un terrain élevé et non irrigué, semble devoir être couronné d'un succès complet. Les jeunes plants poussent vigoureusement et leur croissance ne paraît pas être retardée par le manque d'eau.

    Translation; (to be done)



    In: Bulletin économique de l'Indochine. Institut scientifique de Saigon, 1924. Extraits du « RAPPORT SUR LE COCOTIER EN INDOCHINE »

    La diversité des variétés de cocotier constatée en Cochinchine, comparée à l'uniformité relative des types annamites (région de Bongson) ne permet pas d'attribuer une ancienneté égale à ces deux peuplements. Il est fort probable que la Cochinchine, mêlée depuis la plus haute antiquité à la vie des peuples de l'Indo-Malaisie, reçut de très bonne heure des cocotiers de variétés diverses provenant des régions voisines. De là, la culture gagna lentement l'Annam et le Tonkin grâce à l'activité des jonquiers chinois et à l'émigration des Annamites vers le Sud. Sur divers points de la côte d'Annam, maints vieillards m'ont affirmé tenir de leurs parents qu'il y a 200 à 300 ans, on ignorait l'existence de ce précieux palmier.
    Coconut palms in Luang-Prabang,
    at 500 km from the see in 1924

    Si l'on met à part les régions de My-tho et Ben-tré en Cochinchine, et celle de Bong-son en Annam, rares sont les cocoteraies véritables. Nous entendons par là les superficies uniquement réservées aux cocotiers et les jardins contigus où la compacité du peuplement se chiffrerait à 80 pieds au moins par hectare.

    Si l'hiver restreint le développement du cocotier dans le nord d’Annam, il y est surtout ici un arbre d'ornement pour nos villes. Citons cependant le village de Phu-liên au Tonkin dit village des cocotiers, la vallée de Ngan-Sau dans le Ha-linh et ses environs.

    Hué, Tourane possèdent quelques beaux cocotiers ; le Service forestier a tenté depuis plusieurs années de planter en cocotier les dunes de Thuàn-an. Partout dans ces régions ce palmier est en régression sous la double influence des déprédations des insectes et de la violence des cyclones. Les vieux Tonkinois affirment que les cocotiers étaient beaucoup plus répandus autrefois, les quelques spécimens qui restent sont rongés par les larves de Rhynchophores. Dans le Quang-nam, il existe quelques peuplements sans grande importance à l'embouchure de la Rivière de Faïfo (villages de Do-ap et Phu-trac), à Tamky et à Tribinh. A Quang-ngai, les cocotiers sont également groupés près de l'embouchure du Song-Tra-Khuc (village de Mikhê, Saky, Coluy, Thuxa). Plus intéressante est pour nous la province de Binh-dinh ; de Phumy au col de Binhdé, c'est-à-dire sur 30 km. de longueur et une vingtaine de profondeur,

    Extrait d’un rapport du 28 mars 1923 de M. Fangeau, garde général de 3ème classe des forêts, Chef de Cantonnement à Hué :

    Gia long King
    Si nous en croyons la chronique, le roi Gia Long, en la douzième année de son règne (1813) fit planter sur le rivage du port de Thuan-an des milliers de cocotiers. Mais cette tentative de boisement ne dut d’abord avoir aucun succès, car un voyageur anglais, Finlayson, médecin de l'ambassade Grawfurd, dit en parlant de Thuan-an, où il débarqua en 1822 : I1 n'y avait absolument rien à voir, qu'un amas de misérables huttes construites au milieu d'une grève nue et sablonneuse ». « Ces insuccès se trouvent, d'ailleurs, corroborés par le texte suivant, que nous empruntons aux archives du Gouvernement annamite et qui vise la 17e année du règne du roi Minh-mang, 1837 : « Les zones de sable avoisinant le port, ainsi que la presqu'île, furent plantées de cocotiers. Ainsi les côtés Est et Ouest de ce port sont couverts de ces arbres fruitiers». Nous sommes fondés à croire que la tentative dût, cette fois, pleinement réussir, car On lit dans les relations de voyage de Dutreuil (1876) : « nous suivons le rivage à l'ombre des plantations de cocotiers». D'autre part, M. Bogaert, arrivé à Thuan-an en 1885, signale que des milliers de cocotiers garnissaient la presqu'île, ainsi que l'île des cocotiers et les environs. Aucun doute n'est donc possible ; en 1885 il y avait encore à Thuan-an des milliers de cocotiers ; or, en 1914, de toutes ces plantations il ne restait plus qu'un seul cocotier sur vivant qui, du reste, a lui-même disparu depuis. Il ne m'a pas été possible de savoir à quelle cause devait être attribuée cette disparition totale. Je crois, cependant, que le typhon d'une violence inouïe, accompagné d'un terrible raz de marée, qui désola Thuan-an en 1897, ne doit pas être étranger à ce désastre.


    Il existe quelques petites cocoteraies au Sud de Cumong à Longthanh, Thach-khê, Châu-doc, etc... et sur le bord de la lagune à Ty-luc, Phu-Hoi. La province de Song-cau possède quelques belles cocoteraies tout autour de la ville et plus au Sud sur le bord de la mer à Vinh-làm. Citons enfin la région de Lana, les cocoteraies de Thien-Khanh, KhanhThienh et villages voisins près de Phan-Thiêt et la concession Colombier. C'est tout pour l'Annam : c'est fort peu. A combien évaluer au total les superficies cultivées ? Il est impossible d'indiquer un chiffre précis mais l'ensemble ne doit pas dépasser 7000 à 8000 hectares.

    1924. Cochinchine. Bién-Hoa Province.
    Four-years old palm in in An-Lôc plantation.
    Les palmiers poussant à l'ombre ont une tendance à filer en hauteur, cherchent le soleil; les intervalles entre pétioles sont plus allongés; la frondaison, au lieu de retomber en éventail, forme un V ouvert vers le ciel. Les pétioles restant collés au tronc gênent la sortie des inflorescences et leur fécondation. La plupart des cocotiers décrits comme mâles par les indigènes n'ont pas une autre origine.

    Il existe des cocoteraies sur des terres peu alunées de la province de Ben tré (Sonhoa). La production des palmiers est inférieure à la moyenne, les noix sont plus petites et moins riches en coprah. On doit à M. Hérisson et à un colon chinois M. Nam Xuyen deux essais de plantation de cocotiers sur terres alunées dans la province de Cholon, près de la station agricole de Cau-an-ha.

    1924. Cochinchine. Bién-Hoa Province.
    Mechanical tillage of coconut plantations in An-Lôc
    Les cocotiers vivent très vieux, mais dans la plupart des régions de l'Indochine, des cyclones périodiques entraînent la chute des plus âgés d'entre eux dont la frondaison élevée offre une large prise au vent. Il existe des cocotiers centenaires à Phan-thiet, Song-cau (Note from Roland : need to go and see).


    Nous avons déjà fait remarquer que la Cochinchine, plus largement ouverte aux influences de l'Indo-malaisie, est plus riche en variétés que l'Annam. M. Barrett signale 25 variétés pour les Philippines, M. Blume, 18 pour Java, M. Prudhomme, 6 pour les Comores, 7 à Madagascar, M. Watt, 5 pour les Indes, M. Bennet, 5 pour Ceylan.

    Nous allons citer les principales variétés connues mais sans pouvoir spécifier si les caractères différentiels constatés sont vraiment héréditaires. C'est là le travail de l'avenir en même temps que la recherche des meilleures variétés pour la production du coprah et du coir. Les Annamites attribuent à l'hybridation certaines variétés; ainsi, les noix de couleur bronzée seraient le produit de croisement de cocotiers verts et rouges par un phénomène d'hérédité mixte.

    Variétés de cocotiers connues en Indochine.

    1. Cây dù’a ta. Cocotier à grosses noix vertes, trois côtes saillantes visibles seulement du côté opposé au pédoncule.

    2. Cây dù’a num. Noix ressemblant à celle de la variété précédente, mais présentant au point de rencontre des trois côtés une petite saillie conique.

    3. Cây dù’a li. Cocotier à grosses noix plus allongées que dans la variété « ta » mais à côtes moins marquées.

    4. Cây dù’a dai. Dit du Binh dinh en Cochinchine alors que cette, appellation est inconnue en Annam. Noix très allongées, la meilleure variété pour la production du coïr, car les fibres sont très longues.

    5. Cây dù’a trôn, Rond, dit cocotier du Vinh-Long.

    6. Cây dù’a bong. Cocotier à noix vertes assez semblables à cette de la variété « Ta », mais dont la pulpe est comestible lorsque les noix sont jeunes, d'un goût de fond de salade assez agréable. Un équivalent à Ceylan, la variété « Nawasi ».

    7. Cây dù’a sâp. Noix à pulpe sucrée; signalé par M. Robin (Bulletin de l'Institut scientifique de l’Indochine, n°7 : La culture du cocotier dans l'île de Phu-tuc). On équivalent aux Philippines (variété Tagnamum) et à Ceylan.

    8. Variété sans nom. Cocotier à noix d'un blanc-jaunâtre ; palmier de grande taille dont les feuilles jaunissent rapidement. Peut-être la variéte guinarian des Philippines ; elle est indiquée également sous des appellations diverses à Ceylan et aux Comores.

    9. Cây dù’a lua. Cocotier à noix rouges. Il faudrait peut-être distinguer deux types, l'un à fruits rouge-clair et l'autre à fruits rouge-foncé. Les pétiloes des feuilles sont également colorées mais plus faiblement. Des équivalents sont indiqués un peu partout dans les pays étrangers.

    10.Cây dù’a lai. Cocotier vert-jaune, bronzé, considéré par les Ammanites comme un hybride de cocotier rouge et vert (indiqué aux Comores).

    11.Cây dù’a tanquang. Cocotier du Quang-ngai. Moins haut que les cocotiers précédents; les feuilles sont jaunes, les fruits sont blanc-jaunâtre à maturité, allongés, gros, mais peu nombreux. Variété à rapprocher du Pamba des Philippines, du cocotier sultan des Comores.

    12.Cây dù’a xièm. Cocotier nain du Siam. Nombreuses noix petites, peu riches en albumen, mais eau très agréable à boire ; fructification précoce, à l'âge de 4 à 5 ans ; feuilles courtes (3 m), tronc étroit.

    13.Cây dù’a xièm.lai. Les Annamites désignent sous le nom de Xièm lai (Xièm métis) un cocotier à tronc épais, trapu, court, à feuilles aussi longues que celles des grands cocotiers. La fructification est abondante mais les noix sont petites et peu riches en coprah. (Note de Roland : pourrait être une forme de nain compact, ou moins probablement un hybride naturel de type Nain x Grand)

    14.Nous n'avons pas trouvé de variétés répondant au « Kahim-bahim » des Philippines et au « pink coconut » de Ceylan caractérisé par la couleur rose de la jeune bourre. Le «Maldive» de Ceylan, signalé également par Watt dans l'Inde, dont les noix ont à peine la grosseur d'un oeuuf de dinde, paraît également inconnu. (note de roland : il y a bien des cocotiers à bourre rose au Vietnam, nous en avons identifié parmi les cocotiers Makapuno provenant de culture in vitro).

    En l'état actuel de nos connaissances, nous sommes réduits à nous contenter des appréciations changeantes des indigènes en ce qui concerne la valeur respective des variétés précédentes pour la production du coprah. La variété « ta » serait la meilleure; quant au « bi », il fournit un coir plus abondant et à fibres plus longues.

    1924. Cochinchine. Bién-Hoa Province.
    Three to four-years old palm in in An-Lôc plantation.
    On fait beaucoup de bruit depuis quelques années autour d'une nouvelle variété de cocotier nain cultivée dans les Etats Fédérés Malais, mais originaire de Java et caractérisée par l'abondance de la production en fruits, sa précocité, Un coprah plus sucré et plus riche en huile. (Note de Roland : il s’agit du Nain Jaune de Malaisie, et je ne pense pas que le coprah soit plus riche en huile) Les feuilles ont 3,6 m de long environ, la circonférence du tronc est de 0.6 m, celle des noix de 0.5 m à 0.6m et le nombre de fruits par arbre passe de 10 à 120 noix de 4 à 9 ans. On peut mettre 225 arbres à l’hectare. 833 noix donnent 500 kg de coprah.

    Le nyor gading » a été l'objet de quelques controverses : M. Sampson (2) prédit un appauvrissement rapide du sol par la surproduction et la chute des rendements. Handover ne conteste pas cette diminution mais l'attribue aux attaques d’un insecte le «Coconut Spikermoth» (3) ; enfin, M. Copeland fait remarquer que l’augmentation des frais de manutention des noix annule l'avantage de la productivité (4). Quoiqu'il en soit, il nous a paru intéressant d'attirer l’attention des colons français sur cette variété.

    La variété pure à des fruits jaune-ivoire ou jaune d’or (Note from Roland : couleurs des nains jaunes dits Malais et de Samoa), mais il existe des variétés à fruits orangés (Note from Roland : red), rouge brique (Note from Roland : brown), vert bronzé, vert sombre, qui sont peut être des produits de croisement. (Note from Roland : mélange de description de nains verts et bruns et peut être d’hybrides naturels nain x grand).

    (1) D'après Will L. Hindover: Agric. Bull. of F. M. S. vol. XII, no 5.
    (2) Pratical guide to Coconut. Planters, Munro et Brown.
    (3) Tropical life, (juin 1021).
    (4) Malayan Agric. Journ. Vol. X, 1922.

    Translation (to be improved)

    The diversity of varieties of coconut found in Cochinchine, compared to the relative uniformity of the Annamite types (Bongson region) not to assign equal seniority in both stands. It is likely that Cochinchine, mixed since ancient times in the life of the peoples of Indo-Malaysia, received very early coconut varieties from neighboring regions. Hence, culture slowly gained Annam and Tonkin through the activity of Chinese sailors and the emigration of Annamite people towards South. On various points along the coast of Annam, many elders told me that their parents, 200-300 years ago, did not know this precious palm.

    If we put aside the My-tho regions and Ben-tre in Cochinchine, and Bong-son in Annam, few are real coconut plantations. By this we mean the areas reserved for only coconut trees and the gardens where the compactness of the population would amount to at least 80 palms per hectare.

    Winter restricts the development of the coconut tree in northern Annam, here is it mostly an ornamental tree for our cities. However, the village of Phu-link in Tonkin, said the village of coconut trees, the Ngan Sau-valley in Ha Linh and surroundings have some coconut plantations.

    Hue and Tourane have some beautiful coconut palms; the Forest Service has tried for several years to plant coconut in the dunes of Thuan-year. Throughout these regions this palm is declining under the double influence of the depredations of insects and violence of hurricanes. The old Tonkinese claim that coconuts were once much more widespread, the few remaining specimens are eaten by the larvae of Rhynchophores. In Quang Nam, there are some unimportant stands at the mouth of the River of Faifo (village and Phu Do-ap-trac), and in Tamky Tribinh. In Quang Ngai, the coconut trees are grouped near the mouth of the Song Tra Khuc-(village Mikhê, Saky, Coluy, Thuxa). More interesting for us is Binh-dinh province; from Phumy to the hills of Binhdé, that is to say, on 30 km length and twenty wide.

    From a report of 28 March 1923 Mr Fangeau, General guard 3rd class forest, Head of Cantonment in Hue:

    If we believe chronic, King Gialong in the twelfth year of his reign (1813) has planted thousands of coconut trees on the shore Thuan-an harbor. But this attempt initially had have no success as an English traveler, Finlayson, MD Embassy Grawfurd, said of Thuan-an, where he landed in 1822: “there was absolutely nothing to see except a mass of miserable huts built in the middle of a bare and sandy shore." These failures are, moreover, corroborated by the following text from the archives of the Annamite Government during the 17th year of the reign of King Minh Mang, 1837:" The sandy areas near the port and the peninsula, were planted with coconut trees. The east and west sides of the port are covered with these fruit trees. " We have reason to believe that this second attempt was this time a full success because we read in Dutreuil travel notes (1876): "we follow the shore in the shade of coconut plantations." Secondly, Mr Bogaert, arrived in Thuan-year in 1885, reports that thousands of coconut trees adorned the peninsula and the island of coconut trees and the surroundings. Certainly is therefore possible; in 1885 there were still in Thuan-an thousands of coconut trees; in 1914, it remained only one living coconut tree from all these plantations, and this coconut palm since disappeared. He was not possible for me to learn the reason why all coconut palms disappeared. I believe however that the typhoon of unprecedented violence, accompanied by a terrible tsunami, which desolated Thuan-year in 1897, should be the cause of this disaster.
    ... / ...
    There are some small coconut groves south of Cumong to Longthanh, Thach-Khe Chau-doc, etc ... and on the edge of the lagoon to Ty-luc, Phu Hoi. The Song-cau Province has some beautiful coconut groves around the city and further south on the edge of the sea at Vinh-làm. Coconut plantation can also be found in the region of Lana, especially the coconut groves in Khanh Thien and  neighboring villages near Phan Thiet and the Colombier concession. That's all for Annam: it is very little. How to assess total crop area? It is impossible to give a precise figure but the whole should not exceed 7000-8000 hectares.
    ... / ...
    Main Coconut growing areas in Vietnam in 1924

    Palm trees growing in shade tend to spin in height, seeking the sun; the intervals between petioles are more elongated; canopy, instead of falling back into range, forms a V open toward the sky. Petioles remaining glued to the trunk impede the exit of inflorescences and pollination. Most coconuts described as male by the natives do not have another origin.

    There are coconut plantations on marginal land (peu alunées) in the province of Ben tre (Sonhoa). The production of palm is below average, nuts are smaller and less rich in copra. We owe to Mr. Hedgehog and a Chinese settler Mr. Nam Xuyen, two coconut plantation trials in the province of Cholon, near the agricultural station Cau-an-ha.
    ... / ....
    Coconut trees live very old, but in most parts of Indochina, periodic cyclones leading to falling older because of high canopy offering a large windage. There are century-old coconut palms in Phan Thiet-Song-cau (Note from Roland: need to go and see).

    We have already noted that Cochinchine, widely open to the influences of Indo-Malaysia, is richer in varieties than Annam. Barrett noted 25 varieties for the Philippines, Mr. Blume, 18 for Java, M. Prudhomme, 6 for Comoros, Mr. Watt 7 in Madagascar, Mr. Bennet 5 for India and 5 for Ceylon.
    We will quote the main known varieties but we can not specify whether the observed differential characters are really hereditary. This is the work of the future together with research of the best varieties for the production of copra and coir. The Annamites attributed to hybridization certain varieties; thus, bronze colored nuts are said to be crossingbetween red and green coconut by a phenomenon of mixed heredity.

    Coconut varieties known in Indochina.

    1. Cây your du'a. Coconut tree with large green nuts. Three prominent ribs visible only from the opposite side to the peduncle of the fruits.
    2. Cây Du'a num. Nuts like that of the previous range, but with at the meeting point of three sides of a small conical projection.
    3. Cây Du'a li. Coconut tree with large nuts more elongated than in the variety 'ta' but unless marked ribs.
    4. Cây Du'a dai. Called Binh Dinh in CochinChine while this name is unknown in Annam. Very elongated nuts, the best range for the production of coir, since the fibers are very long.
    5. Du'a Cây Tron, Round, said coconuts from Vinh-Long.
    6. Du'a Cây bong. Green Coconut quite similar to that of "Ta" variety, but whose husk is edible when young, with a salad background taste quite nice. Equivalent to the Ceylon variety "Nawasi".
    7. Cây Du'a sap. Sweet husk when young. Rreported by Mr. Robin (Bulletin of the Scientific Institute of Indochina, 7: The coconut cultivation in the island of Phu-tuc). One equivalent exists in Philippines (variety Tagnamum) and Ceylon.
    8. Unamed variety. Coconut fruits are yellowish-white; Large palm whose leaves turn yellow quickly. Perhaps the variety guinarian the Philippines; it is also indicated under various names in Ceylon and the Comoros.
    9. Cây dua lua. Red fruits. It might be two types, one with light red fruit and the other in deep red fruit. The petioles of the leaves are also colored but more weakly. Equivalents are shown everywhere in foreign countries.
    10. Cây Du'a lai. Yellow-green coconut, tanned, considered by Ammanites as an hybrid of red and green coconut (Also cited in the Comoros).
    11.Cây tanquang du'a. Coconut of Quang Ngai. Less high than previous coconuts; the leaves are yellow, the fruits are yellowish-white at maturity, elongated, big but in small number. Probably similar to Pamba in the Philippines an to the Sultan Coconut of Comoros.
    12.Cây Xiem du'a. Siam dwarf coconut. Many small nuts, little rich endosperm, but very drinkable water; early fruiting at the age of 4 to 5 years; short leaves (3 m), narrow trunk.
    13.Cây xièm lai du'a. The Annamites refer to as Xiem lai (Xiem Métis) a coconut tree trunk thick, stocky, short, with leaves as long as those of tall-type coconut palms. Fruiting is abundant but the nuts are small and not rich in copra. (Note to Roland: could be a form of compact dwarf, or less probably a natural Dwarf x Tall hybrid).
    14. We did not find varieties similar to "Kahim-Bahim" of the Philippines and "pink coconut" Ceylon characterized by the pink color of the young husk. The "Maldive" described in Ceylon, also reported by Watt in India, whose nuts are barely the size of a turkey egg, also seems unknown. (Note from Roland: there are coconut trees with pink color inside the young husk in Vietnam, we have identified one among the Makapuno coconuts from in vitro culture in Trang Bang Seed garden).

    Pink coloured yougn fruits from Makapuno palms
    at Trang Bang Seed garden, IOOP
    In the present state of our knowledge, we are reduced to content ourselves with the changing appreciations of natives regarding the respective value of these varieties for the production of copra. The variety "ta" is the best; the "bi" provides a more abundant coir with longer fibers.

    A lot of noise was made in recent years around a new variety of dwarf coconut palm grown in the Federated Malay States, but originating from Java, and characterized by the abundance of fruit production, precocity, with copra sweeter and richer in oil. (Note to Roland: it is the Malaysian Yellow Dwarf, and I do not think the copra is richer in oil) The leaves are about 3.6 m long, the trunk circumference of 0.6 m, the nuts 0.5m to 0.6m and the number of fruits per tree from 10 to 120 nut 4 to 9 years. You can put 225 trees per hectare. 833 nuts give 500 kg of copra.

    The “Nyor gading "was the subject of some controversy: Sampson (2) predicts a rapid impoverishment of the soil by overproduction and falling yields. Handover does not dispute this decrease but attributes it to an insect attacks: the "Coconut Spikermoth" (3); Finally, Mr. Copeland noted that nuts increased handling fee cancels the advantage of productivity (4). Anyway, it seemed interesting to attract the attention of French settlers on this variety.

    The original variety have yellow-ivory or golden yellow fruits (Note from Roland: probably color of the Malayan and Samoan yellow dwarf), but there are variants with orange fruits (Note from Roland: what we call red), brick red (Note from Roland: brown), bronze-green, dark green, which can be crosses. (Note from Roland: the green and brown variant could be Dwarf-types or Dwarf x Tall natural hybrids).

    (1) According to Will L. Hindover Agric. Bull. Mr S. F. of flight. XII, No. 5.
    (2) Pratical guide to Coconut. Planters, Munro and Brown.
    (3) Tropical life, (June 1021).
    (4) Malayan Agric. Journ. Vol. X, 1922.



    in: Poilane, E. (1965). Les arbres fruitiers d'Indochine. Journal d'agriculture tropicale et de botanique appliquée, 12(6-8), 235-252.

    On a souvent prétendu que le cocotier ne prospérait qu'au bord de la mer, dans les îles du Pacifique et dans les régions deltaïques. Cependant j'en ai rencontré sur le bord du Mékong et de ses affluents dans le haut-Mékong.
    Il a existé des plantations de cocotiers à An-Loc (province de Long-Khânh). La seule plantation industrielle au Vietnam se trouve en bordure de la baie de Cam-Ranh à Hiêp-My. La plus grande partie des surfaces plantées en cocotiers s'observent dans le delta du Mékong ou dans la province de Phû-Yên, au Centre Vietnam.
    On rencontre de très nombreuses variétés; les plus gros fruits seraient ceux de Cham-Chai, près de Kampot. Les plus petits appelés « duà xiêm » dans la banlieue de Saigon et de Mytho, constituent le meilleur fruit à boire : le liquide est sucré, le fruit plus petit et l'arbre plus précoce.
    On utilise généralement le coprah pour l'huile.
    Le cocotier aime les sols sableux et l'eau, nul doute que les bords de la mer et le bord des cours d'eau lui conviennent. Toutes les parties de l'arbre et du fruit sont utilisables.
    Le coïr, provenant des fibres du mésocarpe, constitue un milieu idéal pour l'emballage et le transport des graines. D'après Bajoli, les fruits dont le germe est latéral donnent des arbres bon producteurs et ceux dont le germe sort à la base du pédoncule des arbres mauvais producteurs.


    It is often claimed that coconut manly grows at the seaside, in the Pacific islands and delta regions. However I met it on the banks of the Mekong and its tributaries in the upper Mekong. It existed coconut plantations in An Loc (province of Long Khanh). The only industrial plantation in Vietnam is on the edge of the Bay of Cam Ranh at Hiep My. The majority of areas planted with coconut trees are found in the Mekong Delta and in the province of Phu Yen, in Vietnam Centre.

    Note from Roland: this plantation seems no longer to exist (Google Earth search, January 2016)

    We meet many varieties; the largest fruit would be those of Ham-Chai, near Kampot. Smaller called "Dua Xiem" in the outskirts of Saigon and Mytho, are the best fruit to drink the liquid is sweet, the smallest fruit and most precocious trees.
    Coprah is generally used for the coconut oil.
    The coconut likes sandy soils and water, no doubt that the edges of the sea and the river edge suitable for him. All parts of the tree and the fruit can be used.
    The coir, from the fibers of the mesocarp, is an ideal environment for the packaging and transport of seeds. According to Bajoli, fruits whose germinates laterally give good producers and those trees which the germ leaves at the base of the peduncle trees bad producers.

    Note from Roland: impossible to find the reference about Bajoli, if anyone can help....

    Titre : L'Information d'Indochine : économique et financière
    Éditeur : [s.n.] (Saigon)

    Date d'édition : 1933-12-07

    An-Loc, 193 ha of coconut groves replanted with rubber. 

    L'effort a été concentré sur les plantations d'hévéas.  Selon une actionnaire, toutes les plantations diverses, cocoteraies, etc., ont été suprimées. Le président.  Au moment où la situation des plantations est devenue diflicile, nous avons dû changer certaines méthodes. On avait, installé autrefois, dans les plantations d'An-Loc une série de champs d'expériences, des essais de cultures diverses. Il a fallu les arrêler complètement.

    M. l'administrateur-délégué: Il y avait 193 hectares de cocoteraies, qui ont servi après abattage pour réaliser la partie la plus intéressante de la nouvelle extension d'hévéas.




    Teulières Roger 1964/ Les cocotiers du Sud Vietnam.  Bulletin de la Société des études indochinoises, Volume 39; 1964. Original provenant de l'Université du Michigan Numérisé 23 juil. 2007: Le cocotier au Sud Vietnam:

    Short extract only available online:

    "Au Trung-Phan littoral, le cocotier n'est apparu que depuis trois siècles (1). C'est l'empereur Gia-Long, régnant de 1802 à 1820...."


    Other books to see:

    Aymonier, E. (1891). Les Tchames et leurs religions (Vol. 24). E. Leroux.
    Bernard, F. A. (1901). L'Indo-Chine: erreurs et dangers, un programme. E. Fasquelle.