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Chrysobalanus icaco

Chrysobalanus icaco L.

Icaco coco plum, Icaco coco-plum

Chrysobalanaceae (Cocoa-Plum Family)

Synonym(s): Chrysobalanus icaco var. pellocarpus, Chrysobalanus interior, Chrysobalanus pellocarpus, Chrysobalanus savannarum


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (N), VI (N)

Characterized by round, shiny, dark-green leaves and edible, plum-like fruit, Icaco coco-plum exhibits a creeping habit on sandy beaches, but inland may reach 30 ft. tall becoming a small tree with a trunk to 12 in. in diameter. Evergreen foliage densely covers the symmetrical form. Lower leaf surfaces are yellow-green. Spreading shrub to small tree with dense rounded crown.

The fruits of this tree are used in preserves. Coco-plum is native to Florida, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Elliptic
Inflorescence: Axillary , Cyme
Fruit Type: Drupe
Leaf: Dark green, shiny.
Flower: Sepals 5
Fruit: Dark purple. 3/4 - 1 1/2
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green
Bloom Notes: Greenish-white, small.


Native Distribution: S. FL, from Cayo Costa south; also West Indies to s. Brazil
Native Habitat: A variety of inland sites (var. pellocarpus); sandy, coastal areas (var. icaco)

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Description: Variable.
Conditions Comments: The variety most commonly available from nurseries is var. pellocarpus. Ask for the other variety if a coastal planting is desired. Coco plum is quite tolerant of environmental extremes.


Description: Propagation by seed is easy but slow.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: FACW FAC
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Native Plant Nursery - Sanibel, FL

Research Literature

Reslit 441 - Genotoxic potentiality of aqueous extract prepared from Chrysobalanus icaco L. leaves (2004) S. C. Ferreira-Machado, M. P. Rodrigues, A. P. M. ...
Reslit 327 - Anthocyanins present in selected tropical fruits: Acerola, jambolao, jussara, and guajiru (2007) E. S. De Brito, M. C. P. De Araujo, R. E. Alves, C...
Reslit 962 - Useful plants of tropical dry forest on the coastal dunes of the center of Veracruz State (2009) P. Moreno-Casasola and K. Paradowska
Reslit 994 - Effects of temperature, UV-light and magnesium on anthocyanin pigmentation in cocoplum leaves (2003) A. Nissim-Levi, S. Kagan, R. Ovadia and M. Oren-Sh...
Reslit 1410 - Relationships between hydrology and soils describe vegetation patterns in seasonally flooded tree islands of the southern Everglades, Florida (2006) T. G. Troxler Gann and D. L. Childers
Reslit 1411 - Ecosystem structure, nutrient dynamics, and hydrologic relationships in tree islands of the southern Everglades, Florida, USA (2005) T. G. Troxler Gann, D. L. Childers and D. N. Ronde...
Reslit 1412 - Litter decomposition promotes differential feedbacks in an oligotrophic southern Everglades wetland (2009) T. G. Troxler and D. L. Childers
Reslit 1996 - Potential for biological control of the lobate lac scale, Paratachardina lobata lobata (Hemiptera : Kerriidae) (2003) R. W. Pemberton
Reslit 2037 - Oviposition and larval survival of Diaprepes abbreviatus (Coleoptera : Curculionidae) on select host plants (2003) C. Mannion, A. Hunsberger, J. E. Pena and L. Osbor...

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
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Additional resources

USDA: Find Chrysobalanus icaco in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Chrysobalanus icaco in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Chrysobalanus icaco


Record Modified: 2011-08-02
Research By: TWC Staff

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