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coconut palm (copra plant) Tall palm tree native to the shores of the Indo-Pacific region and the Pacific coast of South America; commercially the most important of all palms. Growing to 30m (100ft) tall, it has a leaning trunk and a crown of feather-shaped leaves. Copra, the dried kernel of the coconut fruit, is the valuable source of oil used in the manufacture of margarine and soap. The fibrous husk is used for matting as well as a peat substitute (coir) in composts. Family Arecacae/Palmae; species Cocos nucifera.