Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Chrysobalanus icaco
(coco plum)

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Datasheet

Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Threatened Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Chrysobalanus icaco
  • Preferred Common Name
  • coco plum
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); ripe fruits. Delray Beach, Florida, USA. July 2016.
TitleFruits
CaptionChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); ripe fruits. Delray Beach, Florida, USA. July 2016.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); ripe fruits. Delray Beach, Florida, USA. July 2016.
FruitsChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); ripe fruits. Delray Beach, Florida, USA. July 2016.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); ripe fruits and foliage. Delray Beach, Florida, USA. July 2016.
TitleFruits
CaptionChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); ripe fruits and foliage. Delray Beach, Florida, USA. July 2016.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); ripe fruits and foliage. Delray Beach, Florida, USA. July 2016.
FruitsChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); ripe fruits and foliage. Delray Beach, Florida, USA. July 2016.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); ripening fruits. Mahe, Seychelles. July 2008.
TitleFruits
CaptionChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); ripening fruits. Mahe, Seychelles. July 2008.
CopyrightPublic Domain - Released by Marion Schneider & Christoph Aistleitner/via wikipedia
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); ripening fruits. Mahe, Seychelles. July 2008.
FruitsChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); ripening fruits. Mahe, Seychelles. July 2008.Public Domain - Released by Marion Schneider & Christoph Aistleitner/via wikipedia
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); flowers and foliage. Tayron Park, Caribbean coast, Colombia, South America. May 2014.
TitleFlowers and foliage
CaptionChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); flowers and foliage. Tayron Park, Caribbean coast, Colombia, South America. May 2014.
Copyright©Dick Culbert/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); flowers and foliage. Tayron Park, Caribbean coast, Colombia, South America. May 2014.
Flowers and foliageChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); flowers and foliage. Tayron Park, Caribbean coast, Colombia, South America. May 2014.©Dick Culbert/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); flowers. John Prince Park, Lake Worth, Florida, USA. September 2009.
TitleFlowers
CaptionChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); flowers. John Prince Park, Lake Worth, Florida, USA. September 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); flowers. John Prince Park, Lake Worth, Florida, USA. September 2009.
FlowersChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); flowers. John Prince Park, Lake Worth, Florida, USA. September 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); habit. Long Key, Florida, USA. November 2003.
TitleHabit
CaptionChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); habit. Long Key, Florida, USA. November 2003.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); habit. Long Key, Florida, USA. November 2003.
HabitChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); habit. Long Key, Florida, USA. November 2003.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); habit, grown as an ornamental. Mangrove Park, Boynton Beach, Florida, USA. September 2009.
TitleHabit
CaptionChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); habit, grown as an ornamental. Mangrove Park, Boynton Beach, Florida, USA. September 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Chrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); habit, grown as an ornamental. Mangrove Park, Boynton Beach, Florida, USA. September 2009.
HabitChrysobalanus icaco (coco plum); habit, grown as an ornamental. Mangrove Park, Boynton Beach, Florida, USA. September 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Chrysobalanus icaco L.

Preferred Common Name

  • coco plum

International Common Names

  • Spanish: hicaco; icaco (Spain); ticaco
  • French: icaquier

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Gold-Pflaumenbaum; Ikako-Pflaumenbaum
  • Italy: icaco

EPPO code

  • CBLIC (Chrysobalanus icaco)

Overview

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This species is a slow-growing medium-sized creeping or erect coastal shrub of 1–1.5 m or, rarely, a small tree of 2–6 m). It is native to coastal areas of southern Florida and the Bahamas through the Caribbean and is also found along the coasts of Mexico, through Central America and South America. This coastal species commonly grows as single plants in thickets on dunes and rocky headlands. It is commonly harvested in the wild, but is sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit in the tropics, especially in South America. It is also grown as an ornamental. The fruit are green turning brownish purple and then black as they ripen. They are edible fresh and can be made into preserves. It is a potential food crop for the future.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Rosales
  •                         Family: Chrysobalanaceae
  •                             Genus: Chrysobalanus
  •                                 Species: Chrysobalanus icaco

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The synonyms of C. icaco are Chrysobalanus pellocarpus G.F.W. Meyer, C. icaco L. var. genuinus Stahlé & Quentin and C. icaco L. var. pillocarpa (G.F.W. Meyer) C. Martius. Chyrysobalanus orbicularis Schum., Chyrysobalanus ellipticus Soland. ex Sabine and Chyrysobalanus atacarensis A. Chev. from Africa were once considered subspecies (Paradis, 1983). All the African references to C. icaco may be one of these species (Janick and Paull, 2008).

Description

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This species is a medium-sized slow-growing creeping or erect coastal shrub (1–1.5 m) or, rarely, a small tree (2–6 m) with multiple smooth to scaly brown or grey stems. The twigs are green and hairless when young and turn reddish brown with raised lenticels at maturity. The branches have two rows of shiny, dark-green, leathery, round or elliptic, alternate leaves 3–10 cm long by 2.5–7 cm broad, on a 3 mm petiole. The undersurfaces are light green. The simple leaves turn upward. The 3–6 cm long pubescent cymes are axillary and terminal and shorter than the leaves. Several small flowers (<1 cm in diameter) occur in each cluster. The four, occasionally five, individual white petals are about 5 mm long and the flower has a solitary carpel. The subglobose to obovoid fruit (1.5–3 cm in diameter) are drupes that resemble plums. The fruit are green turning brownish purple and then black as they ripen (Janick and Paull, 2008).

Distribution

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Coco-plum is native to coastal areas of southern Florida and the Bahamas through the Caribbean. It is also found along the coasts of Mexico, through Central America and South America, to Ecuador and northern Brazil and into the Pacific islands. The range has been extended inland in these areas by disturbance and planting (Little et al., 1974; Janick and Paull, 2008).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

North America

MexicoPresent Natural
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-FloridaPresent Natural

Central America and Caribbean

BelizePresent Natural
Costa RicaPresent Natural
CubaPresent Natural
Dominican RepublicPresent Natural
El SalvadorPresent Natural
GuatemalaPresent Natural
JamaicaPresent Natural
NicaraguaPresent Natural
PanamaPresent Natural
Trinidad and TobagoPresent Natural

South America

ColombiaPresent Natural
EcuadorPresent Natural
GuyanaPresent Natural
SurinamePresent Natural
VenezuelaPresent Natural

Biology and Ecology

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This coastal species commonly grows as single plants in thickets on dunes and rocky headlands up to 500 m. The soils are generally shallow. The species is very tolerant of wind, salt spray and flooding, but is intolerant of shade.

Coco plum flowers and has fruit nearly throughout the year. Bees may be the pollinator as the flowers are a good source of honey. Seed dispersion is presumed to be by gravity, water, birds, bats, domestic animals and humans (Janick and Paull, 2008).

Invasive Species Threats

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Invasive SpeciesWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Scaevola taccada (beach naupaka)Cayman IslandsCompetition - shading; Competition - smotheringBurton, 2008

References

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Burton FJ, 2008. Threatened Plants of the Cayman Islands: the Red List. Richmond, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Costa, O. de A., 1977. Brazilian plants with hypoglycaemic effects. 2. (Plantas hipoglicemiantes Brasileiras - II). Leandra, 6/7(7), 63-75.

Francis, J. K., Rodríguez, A., 1993. Seeds of Puerto Rican trees and shrubs: second installment. In: Research Note - Southern Forest Experiment Station, USDA Forest Service , (No. SO-374) . 5 pp.

Howard RA, 1988. 4. Harvard University, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA: Arnold Arboretum.673 pp.

Janick, J., Paull, R. E., 2008. The encyclopedia of fruit & nuts, [ed. by Janick, J., Paull, R. E.]. Wallingford, UK: CABI.xviii + 954 pp. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20113366221 doi:10.1079/9780851996387.0000

Little, E. L., Jr., Woodbury, R. O., Wadsworth, F. H., 1974. Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Second volume. In: Agriculture Handbook, US Department of Agriculture , (No. 449) . xiv + 1024 pp.

Lorenzi H, 2002. Brazilian trees, 2(4) , Brazil: Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora.

Paradis, G., 1983. Concerning the division of the genus Chrysobalanus into species and subspecies in West Africa (Chrysobalanaceae). (À propos de la division du genre Chrysobalanus en espèces et sous-espèces pour l'Afrique de l'Ouest (Chrysobalanacées)). Bulletin de l'Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire, A (Sciences Naturelles), 45(3-4), 246-254.

Vargas-Simón, G., Arellano-Ostoa, G., García-Villanueva, E., 1997. Propagation of icaco (Chrysobalanus icaco L.) by leafy cuttings and the anatomy of rooting. (Propagación por estacas con hojas de icaco (Chrysobalanus icaco L.) y anatomía del enraizamiento). In: Proceedings of the Interamerican Society for Tropical Horticulture [XXXXIII Annual Meeting, Guatemala City, Guatemala, 1-4 September, 1997], 41. 264-269.

Distribution Maps

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