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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 12 | Chrysobalanaceae

1a. Chrysobalanus icaco Linnaeus subsp. icaco

Coco-plum Coco-plum

Chrysobalanus interior Small; C. pellocarpus G. Meyer

Shrubs or trees 1–5 m; stems usually arising singly. Twigs reddish, glabrate, lenticels elliptic, pith tan; bark striate. Leaves: stipules ovate, 0.8–2.5 mm; petiole 2–3 mm; blade broadly elliptic, broadly ovate or broadly obovate, 3.5–6 × 3–5 cm, length 1.2–1.5 times width, base cuneate, obtuse, or rounded, margins revolute, apex emarginate, rounded or obtuse, surfaces glabrescent except for scattered hairs along midvein. Thyrses: rachis densely hairy; bracteoles caducous, sessile, ovate, 1.5 mm. Flowers: hypanthium 2.5–3 mm; sepals ovate to triangular, 1 mm, both surfaces densely strigose; petals white, spatulate to narrowly spatulate, 3.5–4 mm, glabrous, margins erose, apex obtuse. Drupes white, yellow-green, pink, red, dark purple, or black, (1.2–)1.5–2(–2.5) cm; endocarp 6-ribbed with secondary ribs. 2n = 22.

Flowering year-round. Hammocks, beaches, frequently calcareous (shelly) sands; 0–10 m; Fla.; Mexico; West Indies; Central America; e South America; introduced in Pacific Islands.

Chrysobalanus icaco is known in the flora area only from southern Florida. Leaf morphology varies widely and has prompted a proliferation of names for this taxon. The fruits are eaten, and their flavor varies from a taste of marshmallow to apple; they have folk medicinal value in tropical areas. Although preserved as a foodstuff and used as an ornamental, the species has little current economic value in Florida; it is being investigated for cultivation there as a tropical fruit.


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