Coconut production contributes to the national economy of Sri Lanka. The scientific name of the coconut is Cocos nucifera. Sri Lanka there are three varieties, tall variety, dwarf variety and King coconut variety.According to figures published in December 2018 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, it is the world's fourth largest producer of coconuts, producing 2,623,000 tonnes in 2018.
The Portuguese who captured the country in 1505 called the nut Coco as the peeled nut was very unattractive. Coconut native to South-East Asia and Sri Lanka. Marco Polo the Italian merchant and explorer. Who made to the west was among the first European to describe the coconut. It's also reported that he referred to Sri Lanka as the most picturesque island in the world. In Sidat Sangarawa the coconut has been referred to as Nyli. In the Sigiri kurutu gee written about the 9th century. The idea has been expressed by the Professor Senarat Paranavitana, the reputed archaeologist that the breasts of the Sigiri damsels have been referred to as Neli. The Mahawansa states that the coconut was cultivated during the reign of King Aggabodhi (564-598). Faxian Buddhist monk (337-422) in his travel noted records the presence of coconut in Sri Lanka. The Kotte period (1412–1597) of the 15th century under Parakramabahu VI (1410–1467) is considered the golden era of Sinhala literature. The Paravi SandesayaI, the Selalihini Sandesaya, the Hansa Sandaseya, and the Gira Sandesaya makes reference to the coconut.
When the British capered the coastal area, the various taxes imposed included a tax on the coconut palm. It is significant that words like Polwatta, Polgolla, Polgasowita, Polgahawela, Polhengoda, Polathumodera have in common the word pol (Coconut). There is ample evidence that coconut was present during the Anuradhapura period (377 BC–1017 AD).
There is evidence that the word Pol , Tēṅkāy was not used for the coconut in very early times. It is believed that Vijaya on landing in Tambapaṇṇī was treated with young coconut water by Kuweni.
Coconut palms grow in most parts of Sri Lanka except in higher elevations. It's a strong, light, and demanding tree. Most of the coconut is concentrated in the triangle formed by Puttalam, Kurunegala and Gampaha. This area covered by these three towns is referred to as the Coconut Triangle.