“The coco de mer is a much-loved cultural and botanical icon of the Seychelles,” says Katy Beaver, a plant expert on the islands. The plant, also known as the sea coconut or double coconut, is endemic to the Seychelles and produces the largest and heaviest seeds in the world. With only about 8,000 mature trees in existence today and living only on two of the Seychelles 115 islands, the plant is named as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list, "the world's most comprehensive source on the extinction risk of animals, fungi and plants." Before the pandemic halted travel, there was a thriving black market for the seeds, which are desired by tourists for their unusual and suggestive shape. During the pandemic, conservationists have offered islanders the opportunity to apply for seeds to plant on their property to help propagate the plants. At the close of the application period in December, there were 104 requests for 422 nuts; thus far planting has taken place on 26 properties.

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