Coccoloba uvifera – Sea Grape
Scientific Name: Coccoloba uvifera
Synonym: Polygonum uvifera
Common Names: Sea Grape, Seagrape
Duration: Perennial, Evergreen
Growth Habit: Tree, Shrub
Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized seaside ornamental plant is native to Florida, Mexico, Central America, western South America, and the Caribbean.
Flower Color: Cream to greenish white
Flowering Season: Year-round
Height: To 25 feet (7.6 m) tall
Description: The plants are dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants). The small, white flowers are on slender, terminal and lateral flower spikes. The female flowers are followed by pendent clusters of round, grape-like, green ripening to purple-red fruits. The leaves are green when mature, sometimes coppery when young, leathery, hairless to almost hairless, often red-veined at the base, alternate, and round to kidney-shaped. The plants branch low to the ground and have unusually thick trunks. The bark is smooth, peeling, and grayish to mottled with patches of white, gray, and light brown. The cut bark oozes astringent, tannin-rich, red sap that has been used as a dye and for medicinal purposes.
Here in Hawaii, Sea Grape grows in coastal areas and is very salt-tolerant.
Edible – The ripe, tart to sweet, purple-red fruits are edible raw and can also be made into jelly or wine. The fruits each contain a single hard seed. The flowers contain abundant nectar for honeybees, and the resulting Sea Grape honey is pale-colored and spicy.
Fragrant – The flowers are lightly fragrant.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Polygonaceae – Buckwheat family
Genus: Coccoloba P. Br. – coccoloba
Species: Coccoloba uvifera (L.) L. – seagrape