The coco plum (Chrysobalanus icaco L.) is a dichotomous, perennial shrub found in the coastal regions of Florida. It is grown for ornamental purposes as well as for fruit that may be eaten raw or used in cooking.
Coco plum plants usually grow in a shrub formation, but they may also form small trees. The stems are gray or brown, and twigs appear green and change to deep red as they mature. Coco plum leaves are dark-green, shiny and slightly under 1 inch long. Tiny, light-green flowers are almost unnoticeable.
Coco plum fruit ranges from white to purple and although it is edible, it is nearly tasteless when fully ripe. The shape of the fruit resembles plums, giving this shrub its common name.
This sun-loving perennial shrub may be found growing in coastal dunes and rocky soils in warm climates such as Florida.
Coco plums grow wild as the seeds are dispersed by birds, bats and wind. The home gardener may grow coco plums from seed. This shrub is rather delicate, slow-growing and prone to falling victim to competing plants.