Literary evidence from the Ramayana and Sri Lankan chronicles indicates that the coconut was present in South Asia before the 1st century BCE. Another early mention of the coconut dates back to the "One Thousand and One Nights" story of Sinbad the Sailor; he is known to have bought and sold coconut during his fifth voyage. Thenga, its Tamil name, was used in the detailed description of coconut found in Itinerario by Ludovico di Varthema published in 1510 and also in the later Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Even earlier, it was called nux indica, a name used by Marco Polo in 1280 while in Sumatra, taken from the Arabs who called it jawz hindī, translating to "Indian nut". In the earliest description of the coconut palm known, given by Cosmos of Alexandria in his Topographia Christiana written around 545, there is a reference to the argell tree and its drupe.
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