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sea coconut, hai di ye 海底椰

by Joe Hing Kwok Chu

photo taken in San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park

海底椰。編者之學生Carol Grewal 拍於美國﹐三藩市﹐ 金門公園﹐ 溫室之展覽會。


See other pictures here。 按此看一批海底椰照片.

See another group of pictures here     按此看另一批海底椰照片

Pharmaceutical name:

英文藥名 ﹕

Semen Lodoiceae maldivicae

Latin name:


Lodoicea maldivica (J.F. Gmel.) Pers.

Lodoicea seychellarum Poir. (syn.)

Pron. in Japanese:


kaite iyashi

Pron. in Korean:



Pron. in Cantonese:


hoi2 dai2 ye4

Other Chinese Names:


  • fu ye zi 復椰子﹐(double coconut)

  • hai ye zi 海椰子, (sea cocomut)

  • da shi lu 大實櫚(large seed palm)

  • ju zi zong 巨籽棕 , (large seed palm)

Common Name:


French: coco-de mer

English: sea coconut, double coconut



Praslin and Curieuse islands of Seychelles. The sea coconut (hai di ye) sold in Guangdong today is not the African sea coconuts but are the fruit of sugar palm from Thailand and other south east Asian countries. The shape of sea coconuts (double coconut) is like two coconut joining together and its weight can reach 20 to 30 kilograms while the fruit of sugar palm are much smaller and do not join together.

復椰子原產 非洲塞舌爾國的兩個海島﹕ Praslin Curieuse ﹐ 目前廣東市面上出售的乾的或的濕海底椰,是糖棕的果實,主要生長在 東南亞,属於熱帶植物﹐與非洲的 復椰子不同。復椰子形狀像兩顆椰子連 在一起; 是世界最大的種子﹔ 重量可達20 ~ 30 公斤。糖 棕的果實只是單顆生長的。





Channels  meridians) entered:




Medical functions:



hypoglycemic effect [1]


Actions & Indications:


Slices of Semen Lodoiceae maldivicae (African hai di ye) is being used in making soup for treating chronic cough and for arresting bleeding.

復椰子果肉 煮湯飲服,有治療久咳和止血的功效。

Chemical ingredients:





about 30 g

30克左右 。

Samples of formulae


Folk recipe:

For Chronic cough: hai di ye 30 g, xing ren 9 g, fresh ginger  2 slices, dry or fresh figs 6 pieces, chen pi 6 g, lean pork 1 kilo gram. Simmer for 4 hours to make into soup.


治久咳嗽﹕海底椰 30 克﹐杏 仁 9 克﹐ 生 薑 2  片﹐ 無花果6枚﹐陳 皮 6 克﹐ 瘦肉2 公 斤。慢火煮四小時﹐ 作湯。

Modern Research:


identification of sea coconut herb, see



Almost all of the sea coconut (hai di ye) sold in Hong Kong and Guangdong today is not the African sea coconuts but are the fruit of sugar palm (Borassus flabellifer Linn;)  from Thailand and other south east Asian countries. The size of the fruit of sugar palm is a little smaller than a regular coconut and much much smaller than the sea coconut of Africa. For medical purposes, they can not be used as substitute.

目前香港與 廣東市面上出售的乾的或的濕海底椰,幾乎全是是糖棕(Borassus flabellifer Linn;) 的果實,主要生長在 東南亞,與非洲的 復椰子不同, 其體積比平常的椰子略小; 比非洲海底椰小很多。药用不能代替非洲海底椰。


No information about African hai di ye has been found in classical Chinese medical text .




查通中國古典藥典﹐ 沒有發現有海底椰藥用之記載。


南北朝陶弘景所著「神農本草經集注」(AD500年 )提出當時的中藥亂象:

「又且醫不識藥,惟聽市人。市人又不辨究,皆委採送之家。傳習造作 ,真偽好惡,並皆莫測」


現代的海底椰情形也如南北朝陶弘 景所說。醫師不沒見過真的非洲海底椰,唯有聽藥店的老闆,而老闆靠中藥批發商。批發商靠採藥者。所以糖棕的果實當作海底椰。

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Last update: Jan 28, 2015; 10:30 a.m. LAH