Hedge of Sea Grapes

Native to coastal beaches throughout tropical America and the Caribbean, including southern Florida, the Bahamas, the Greater and Lesser Antilles, and Bermuda. Common names include sea grape and baygrape.

The common name refers to the location in which the plant is found as well as to the spherical fruits that hang in clusters resembling bunches of grapes. Sea grape is not a true grape, however, and it belongs to the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae).

Sea grapes at The Organic Street

The sea grape plant (Coccoloba uvifera) has many uses within landscaping, culinary, and the garment industry.

Often used in ocean-side landscaping dotting the tropical landscapethe seagrape has a lot going for it. It grows in full sun or partial shade, and is very drought tolerant once established. It also tolerates salt spray and salty soils, making it friendly choice for seaside locations and beachfront homes. It requires very little maintenance beyond pruning to maintain the desired shape. Time to grow organic sea grape?

Edible pulp which varies from acid to sweet and insipid surrounds a single, large, pointed seed which may account for 2/3 of the fruit volume. Fruit normally ripens unevenly in individual racemes and readily drops from the tree. Most fruit matures during the summer, but in some years some fruit may mature in late fall because of late bloom. Fruit is produced only on female trees but a male tree must be present for pollination. Assurance of a productive female tree with good quality fruit needs vegetative propagation. Large tree generally produces several thousand fruit per season, more than enough for individual use.

The sap of the sea grape is used in the West Indies and Jamaica for dyeing and tanning various garments.

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