THE world's largest seed has set up home at Reading University.

The Coco de Mer nut, which is 40-50cm in diamater and 15-30kg in weight, was donated to the university's herbarium by ex-British diplomat, Bob Jenner.

He said: "It was during a visit to the Eden Project in Cornwall that I saw the University of Reading's involvement with the conservation of the Coco de Mer plant in the Seychelles.

"It was then that my wife and I decided that attractive and unusual as it is, the nut does not serve any real purpose in our home apart from evoking distant memories, and so I wondered if it would be of any use to the university."

Mr Jenner, who now lives in Hampshire, spent four years in the Seychelles working closely with the island's government and was presented with the seed by the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs when he left the island in 1992 - a token of the high esteem in which he was held.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also presented with their own Coco de Mer nut by Seychelles president, James Michel, while honeymooning on the island.

Herbarium curator, Dr Alistair Culham, said: "We are delighted to add this extremely rare specimen to the 300,000 other examples of flowering plants, conifers, ferns, seeds and other flora in our herbarium.

"It will be invaluable in engaging our students in the importance of conservation and plant diversity.

"The university has been involved in plant conservation in the Seychelles for many years now and it seems very fitting that this rare specimen has found its way from the Indian Ocean to the university."