Characteristics of Seagrape Tree (Coccoloba uvifera) in the Wild

Coccoloba uvifera
Seagrape or Baygrape is a species of plant in the Polygonaceae family, native to coasts throughout tropical America and the Caribbean.

Coccoloba uvifera was first described in 1696 by Hans Sloane, who called it Prunus maritima racemosa, and Leonard Plukenet, who named it Uvifera littorea. Both reflect the concept of “Seagrape”, and both names were used by explorers of the time.

Seagrape trees can survive temperatures of around 2 °C, but cannot survive frost or minus temperatures. This tree withstands strong winds, is tolerant of shade and saltwater, so it is often planted to stabilize corrosion by the coast. Sometimes it is also planted as an ornamental tree in the yard and garden.

 

Characteristics of Seagrape Leaf

Coccoloba uvifera Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Forest and Kim Starr

The leaves are almost round, with a heart-shaped base and have smooth edges. Each leaf is between 15-20 cm and a light green color that will turn reddish when aging or before falling.

 

Characteristics of Seagrape Flower

Coccoloba uvifera Flower
Source : flickr.com/Wendy Cutler

Seagrape trees are dioecious, ie male and female flowers exist on different trees, and cross-pollination is required to bear fruit. Honey bees and other insects help pollinate this tree.

Male and female Seagrape trees can be distinguished by the appearance of their flowers, as males usually show dead flower stalks.

 

Characteristics of the Seagrape Fruit

Coccoloba uvifera Fruit
Source : flickr.com/Hans Hillewaert

The fruit is very tasty and can be used to make jam or eaten fresh from the tree.

At the end of summer, the Seagrape tree produces green fruit, about 2 cm in diameter, and clustered in bunches 15-30 cm long like most grapes. When the fruit is ripe, it turns blackish purple.

 

Characteristics of the Seagrape Tree

Coccoloba uvifera Tree
Source : flickr.com/TreeWorld Wholesale

Seagrape trees grow in the form of shrubs or medium-sized trees reaching a height of 12-15 meters. In tropical areas such as South Florida, this tree is often planted as a roadside shrub. Whereas in Asia, Seagrape is more often used as a bonsai tree and an ornamental tree in yards or gardens.

 
BENEFITS OF SEAGRAPE TREE

Creating coolness under the shade of the leaves and helping the turtle from the disturbance of the light reflection of nearby buildings, as well as a shelter for other beachside animals.

The sap has been used to dye textiles.

The wood can be used for making furniture, tool handles, firewood, or for making charcoal.

Seagrape fruit can be eaten fresh, processed into jellies and jams, or fermented into wine.

 
HOW TO CULTIVATE SEAGRAPE TREE

There are two ways to cultivate Seagrape trees, namely seedlings and stem cuttings. The easiest way is to seed seeds.

Seeds taken from ripe fruit must be planted immediately because unlike most other crops, Seagrape seeds cannot be stored for future planting.

 

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