Chrysobalanus icaco, the cocoplum, paradise plum, abajeru or icaco, is
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.
4 External links
Chrysobalanus icaco 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 fruit is edible,
with an almost tasteless to mildly sweet flavor, and is sometimes used
for jam. It contains a five- or six-ridged brown stone with an edible
white seed. The common name for this fruit in Barbados, Trinidad &
Guyana is "fat pork".
Chrysobalanus icaco is unable to survive a hard frost, but is planted
as an ornamental shrub in subtropical regions due to its appearance,
easily manageable size, and tolerance of shallow and variable soils
(for example, as alkaline as pH 8.4) and partial shade.
Several cultivars are available:
'Red Tip' is of the inland ecotype, and is the most commonly planted
in Florida, often as a hedge. It is a chance occurrence that has pink
'Green Tip' is another example of the inland type that has green new
'Horizontal' is of the coastal type, and tends to root wherever its
creeping branches touch the ground, creating clumps over time that can
help stabilize the soil. Combined with the high salt tolerance of the
coastal ecotype, this characteric means it can be planted to stabilize
beach edges and prevent erosion.
Chrysobalanus icaco plays a role in traditional medicine in some parts
of its native range, and has been the subject of scientific
investigations that have provided evidence of hypoglycemic,
antioxidant, antifungal and other pharmacological properties of the
Fruit of the coastal form
Red leaves on the inland form
Cocoplum growing in
Oleta River State Park
Oleta River State Park -
Fruit and branches
Detail of branches
Mature and immature fruits
^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected
Chrysobalanus icaco at Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)
^ a b c  "
Chrysobalanus icaco—Coco-plum", Francis, John K., U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of
Tropical Forestry, San Juan PR
^ a b c d  Brown et al, Lee County Extension, Institute of Food and
Agricultural Services extension, University of Florida
Chrysobalanus icaco—Cocoplum, Institute of Food and
Agricultural Services, University of Florida
^ Presta, Giuseppe Antonio et al. (2007). Effects of Chrysobalanus
icaco on the labeling of blood constituents with technetium-99m and on
the shape of the red blood cells. Brazilian Archives of Biology and
Technology, 50(spe), 145-152. 
^ Bastos Silva, João Paulo et al. (2017). Antifungal activity of
hydroalcoholic extract of
Chrysobalanus icaco against oral clinical
isolates of Candida Species. Pharmacognosy Research, 9, 96-100. 
Bush, Charles S. and Morton, Julia F. (1969) Native Trees and Plants
Florida Landscaping (pp. 64–65). Bulletin No. 193.
Department of Agriculture - State of Florida.
Cocoplum at Virginia Tech Dendrology
Dressler, S.; Schmidt, M. & Zizka, G. (2014). "Chrysobalanus
icaco". African plants – a Photo Guide. Frankfurt/Main:
Plant List: kew-367588