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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.


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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
Size Notes: Up to about 30 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Dark green, shiny.
Flower: Sepals 5
Fruit: Dark purple. 3/4 - 1 1/2"

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec
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.
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.

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

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.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

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: 2022-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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