The sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera) is a leathery leaved evergreen that grown on sand dunes and beach areas. It belongs to the plant family of Polygonaceae, or the buckwheat family.
Sea grape gets the name from the fruit it bears that resembles a thicket of grapes when mature. Some birds forage for this fruit.
The sea grape will flower with tiny white blooms on spikes that are 6 to 10 inches tall. The white flowers are a soft contrast to the leather feel of the tree.
The female plant will fruit. The red fruits hang like grapes and is fleshy, with a stone center. The fruits are edible; a jelly can be made from them.
Sea grape grows in full sun or partial shade. While it is drought tolerant, it does need water to get established. The plant is hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11, and tolerates salty water and soils.
The sea grape is boiled in the West Indies to produce a red dye. Larger pieces can made into cabinetry. The plant can be made into folklore remedies, such as a gum made from the bark for throat conditions, and dysentery cures made from the roots.
The sea grape is native to coastlines around the Florida Keys, West Indies, and Argentina. It is a tropical plant that needs coastal scrub and will not become treelike unless in the southernmost zone.
seagrape, Coccoloba uvifera, buckwheat trees
About this Author
T.M. Samuels has been a freelance writer since 1993. She has published works in "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living" and "Mature Years," and is the author of a gardening book. Samuels studied pre-medicine at Berry College.