This coconut (Cocos nucifera) on Raoul Island in the Kermadecs, photographed in 2004, was probably planted by people. Coconuts regularly wash up on Kermadec shores, but none have germinated. They do not usually grow outside of the tropics, but their arrival in the Kermadec Islands (halfway between New Zealand and Tonga) shows that plant material can reach distant lands on ocean currents. Fossil coconuts of another species (Cocos zeylandica) have been found in Northland. They flourished around 20 million years ago, when northern New Zealand was almost tropical.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Rebecca Stanley
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