The coco de mer is the world’s largest seed, the fruit of a rare, endemic palm found only on Praslin and Curieuse.
The nut, which has a curious shape resembling human anatomy, is highly prized and its sale is strictly regulated with permits required for its removal from the Seychelles. It was once believed to grow deep under the sea, hence the name.
On Praslin there are two main sites, with Vallee de Mai by far the most popular and thus busier than its smaller rival, Fond Ferdinand, which has fewer trees but is a quieter reserve with trails leading to a stunning vista.
The impressive, ancient forest – which also hosts five other endemic palm species – is one of only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Seychelles (the other being Aldabra). The valley also protects endangered endemic fauna such as the Seychelles black parrot, Seychelles chameleon, blue pigeon, bulbul, sunbird, various skinks, tree frog, and three species of bronze gecko.