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Coconut, The Most Important Plant In Bali  

by on Saturday, 3 February 2007One Comment | 3,771 views

Nyuh, is Balinese name for coconut, this plant is the life of Balinese. All part of this plant is important for Balinese life and ceremony. But let me begin with general information on coconut in Balinese life.

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The name of a Coconut species in Bali is determined by the color of its fruit especially the fibrous husk while the fruit is still young since it is difficult to differentiate the color of the husk when it is already mature. A species of coconut that produces a green colored fibrous husk fruit is called “nyuh gadang”, green coconut. A coconut with yellow fibrous husk is called “nyuh gading”, yellow coconut. A coconut with red fibrous husk is called “nyuh udang” prawn coconut, since prawn has red skin and a coconut with white fibrous husk is called “nyuh bulan” or moon coconut. There are twelve varieties of coconut based on its color and size known by Balinese.

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Balinese have a specific name for each part of coconut and each stage of its growth. Let us begin with the tree; a coconut sprout is called “Pujer”, a young coconut tree is called “tubuh” while a mature one is called “punyan nyuh”. Now the fruit, a very young coconut is called “bungsil”, older coconut but still not ready to eat is called “bungkak”, young mature coconut with soft meat and fresh water is called “kuwud” and the fully mature one is called “nyuh”; Part of coconut also has specific name, the fibrous husk iscalled “sambuk” while the hard shell is called “kau” Lets move on to the leaf, young coconut leaf is called “busung” the mature one is called “selepan” and the dried one is called “danyuh”, while the spine of cocnut leaf is called “lidi”. Other parts of coconut tree are “bungan nyuh” or the coconut flower while the woody spathe that protects the coconut flower is called “keloping”. The root of coconut tree is called “akah nyuh” while branch that hold the coconut is called “paang”.

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All parts of coconut tree are useful. Coconut wood (seseh) is very strong, decay resistant and makes excellent building timber. Coconut root and hard shell of coconut are used as handicraft material, while woody spathe that protects the coconut flower (keloping), branch that hold the coconut (pang), dried fibrous husk (sambuk) and dried coconut leaf (danyuh) are excellent fire wood. Young and mature coconut leaves are standard material for various offering and symbolic decoration in Balinese ceremony; woven mature coconut leaves (klangsah) is used as a mat, roof or wall. Coconut flower is used as medicine by Balinese witch doctor (Balian). Young coconut that still not ready to eat is called (bungkak) is used in various Balinese ceremonies. Young mature coconut with soft meat and fresh water (kuwud)” is the best food and drink in Bali and the fully mature coconut (nyuh) is used for ceremony and processed into coconut milk or oil.

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So important is the coconut tree that the Balinese make special offering to the tree once every 210 days. This day is called Tumpek Uduh, or the birthday of all plants. Though this special day is dedicated to all plants but the coconut tree is always given a special offering apart from regular offering for other plants.

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