Fruits & Vegetables

Coco Plum

Botanical Name:Chrysobalanus icaco
Family: Chrysobalanaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Chrysobalanus
Species: C. icaco

*Chrysobalanus atacorensis A.Chev.
*Chrysobalanus chariensis A.Chev.
*Maba sudanensis A.Chev.
*Chrysobalanus purpureus Mill.
*Chrysobalanus pellocarpus G.Mey.
*Chrysobalanus ellipticus Sol. ex Sabine
*Chrysobalanus luteus Sabine
*Chrysobalanus orbicularis Schumach.

Common Names: Coco plum, Paradise plum, Abajeru or Icaco

Habitat: Coco Plum is believed to be native to S. America from Brazil, north to the Caribbean, Mexico and southern Florida. West tropical Africa – coastal areas from Senegal to Angola. It grows in forests near the shore line. Coastal shoreline and sandy thickets. Usually found where the soil is moist or flooded

found near sea beaches and inland throughout tropical Africa, tropical Americas and the Caribbean, and in southern Florida and the Bahamas. It is also found as an exotic species on other tropical islands, where it has become a problematic invasive. Although taxonomists disagree on whether Chrysobalanus icaco has multiple subspecies or varieties, it is recognized as having two ecotypes, described as an inland, much less salt-tolerant, and more upright C. icaco var. pellocarpus and a coastal C. icaco var. icaco. Both the ripe fruit of C. icaco, and the seed inside the ridged shell it contains, are considered edible.

Coco Plum is a shrub 1–3 metres (3.3–9.8 ft), or bushy tree 2–6 metres (6.6–19.7 ft), rarely to 10 metres (33 ft). It has evergreen broad-oval to nearly round somewhat leathery leaves (3 to 10 cm long and 2.5 to 7 cm wide). Leaf colors range from green to light red. The bark is greyish or reddish brown, with white specks.

The clustered flowers are small, greenish-white, and appear intermittently throughout the year but more abundantly in late spring. The fruit that follows (a drupe) is variable, with that of the coastal form being round, up to 5 cm in diameter, white, pale-yellow with a rose blush or dark-purple in color, while that of the inland form is oval, up to 2.5 cm long, and dark-purple.The common name for this fruit in Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana is “fat pork”.


A plant for the humid lowland tropics. Prefers a position in full sun or light shade. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Plants can succeed in both poor and fertile soils. Requires a well-drained soil. Established plants are very drought tolerant. Very tolerant of salt-laden winds. Plants have escaped from cultivation and become naturalized in some areas. There is at least one named form. Plants usually flower in two or more flushes per year, and can flower intermittently throughout the year.

Edible Uses:
Edible portion: Fruit, Kernel, Seeds, Nut. Fruit – raw or cooked. A fairly sweet, white, spongy flesh. They are stewed in sugar, dried like prunes or made into jams and jellies. The ovoid fruit is 2 – 5cm long. The purple or red-skinned fruits are considered to have a superior flavour to white forms. Seed – raw or cooked. A delicious flavour. They are roasted and eaten. When preserving the fruits, they are pierced right through the centre, including the seed. This allows the juice of the fruit to penetrate the seed and, after separation from the shell, the nut-like kernel is eaten. An edible oil can be extracted from the seed.

Medicinal Uses:
The root, bark, fruit and leaves all contain tannins and are astringent. They are used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery and dyspepsia. They are used externally as a wash to treat skin complaints. The juice of the roots and leaves, mixed with oil, is used to contract the sphincters of the vulva by women wishing to simulate virginity, and the same preparation is used by men for treating flaccid scrotum.

Other Uses:
Other uses rating: Medium (3/5). Seaside tree, Backyard tree, Screening, Hedging, Dune stabilization, Planter, Topiary, Xerophytic, Border, Espalier, Pollard, Planted as an ornamental shrub. Agroforestry Uses: Plants can be grown as a hedge. They are particularly well suited for use by the sea. The plant often forms large, rambling, impenetrable thickets and so it has been used to stabilize sand dunes. Other Uses: An oil can be obtained from the seed The seeds are so rich in oil that they can be strung on sticks and burnt like a candle. The bark is rich in tannins. A black dye can be obtained from the fruit. A black dye can be obtained from the leaves.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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