I have observed Cocoplum plants growing along the fringes of the Everglads in water but distinctly remember them from my childhood in Barbados and remember picking through them at the top of the hilly areas behind the Cattlewash Beach area on the Atlantic side of the Island where it is arid and constantly blasted by sea spray.  They are obviously quite adaptable.


BOTANICAL NAME Chrysobalanus icaco
HEIGHT 2 – 20 feet
ZONES 10 to 11
LIGHT Sun to Shade

Cocoplum grows really well at Villa Maria and takes the constant salt breeze handily.  However, they will get wiped out in a hurricane if they are located too close to the Bay.  Fortunately, they can be replaced quite easily.

The closest to the water that I have had success with them is about 20 feet. But again, you will loose these plants in a hurricane if they are grown that close to the Bay and they take a hit from heavy salt spray action.

The garden contains both the red tip variey and the plain green variety in the garden.  Additionally, there is also the (lateral) groundcover variety, the shrub and the tree in the garden.  The lateral groundcover comes in the green variety only.

The tree is not a separate variety – it is simply the green variety that has not been allowed to become a shrub.  The trees are really a conversation piece.  I lost a beautiful tree once when I was moving plants around. It would burst forth with fruit each year and was quite the conversation piece. 

The fruit of the red variety are dark purple while the green varities are white turning pinkish when ripe. The fruit are edible but we refer to them as "child's fruit" because you have to be a child to enjoy them!

 Cocoplum needs to be pruned annually or else it becomes leggy.  The pruning also needs to be quite severe.

Over the years I have been propagating the lateral variety more and more because they are less maintenance and do not have to be pruned so severely. However, there are times when the landscape screams for the height and beauty of the red tip shrub variety.