Item number: 3795
An Unusual 19th Century Miniature Guyana Coconut
Ex English Private Collection, Passed by Descent
Originating from Berbice, a region in the former British colony of Guyana located on the Northern coast of south America, this fascinating Coconut specimen was formed in miniature, its growth stunted by abnormal and disadvantageous climatic conditions which severely restricted its natural development. Almost certainly discovered by someone connected to the sugarcane plantations which dominated British interests there at this time, it was deemed noteworthy, being subsequently labelled and retained as an interesting natural curiosity.
The original collection label affixed to the surface of the diminutive coconut bears an inscription recording observations of its occurrence, it reads,
”A specimen of natural curiosity, Berbice Cocoanut showing the state of the country having no rain for nine months, age of the nut 12 months, 1846”.
Of note is the archaic spelling, ‘Cocoanut’, observed on the label.
Under normal circumstances Coconuts would be expected to reach full maturity within a year. Actually classified as a drupe, (a three layered fruit with a hard outer covering, surrounding the seed), the rather misleading name ‘Coconut’ ascribed to them derives from the old Spanish term ‘cocos’, meaning ‘grinning face’, which relates to the three germination pores present at the end which were thought to bear resemblance to human facial characteristics.
Height: 8cm, Width: 4cm, Depth: 4cm, Overall Height: 15cm (Including stand)