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Tree Description: Cocoplum is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to swamps and coastal dunes and hammocks in Central and South Florida. It produces flowers and fruits throughout the year, with the peak bloom occurring winter through spring.
Scientific Name: Chrysobalanus icaco
Common Names: cocoplum; fat pork; icaco
Origin: Central and South Florida; West Indies; Mexico; Central America; northern South America; West Africa
Distribution: Coco-plum is native to coastal areas of southern Florida and the Bahamas through the Caribbean. It is also found along the coasts of Mexico, through Central America and South America, to Ecuador and northern Brazil and into the Pacific islands. The range has been extended inland in these areas by disturbance and planting.
Importance: The Coco-plum has has many native medical uses (see Herb Blurb below.) The leaves and bark have been used to treat dysentery and diarrhea, diabetes, bladder problems and kidney issues. Tea from the leaves can make mice hypoglycemic. The coastal-growing “Horizontal” variety is low-growing, spreading and salt-tolerant. Its creeping branches root where they touch the ground, so it is a good plant for dune stabilization and to help prevent erosion.