We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Chrysobalanus icaco - L.

Common Name Coco Plum, Paradise Plum
Family Chrysobalanaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Forests near the shore line[ 200 ]. Coastal shoreline and sandy thickets[ 307 ]. Usually found where the soil is moist or flooded[ 335 ].
Range S. America from Brazil, north to the Caribbean, Mexico and southern Florida. West tropical Africa - coastal areas from Senegal to Angola.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Chrysobalanus icaco Coco Plum, Paradise Plum

Chrysobalanus icaco Coco Plum, Paradise Plum


Translate this page:


Coco Plum or Chysobalanus icaco is a widely cultivated food plant commonly found near sea beaches and inland. It is a small evergreen tree or a shrub that grows up to 6 m tall. It has long, flexible branches, green, leathery leaves, and small greenish white flowers that form into erect clusters in the leave axils. It can also be grown as a hedge and it is propagated by seeds or woody stem cuttings. Medicinally, it is used internally against dysentery, dyspepsia, and diarrhoea and externally against various skin conditions. The purple or red, sweet fruit is consumed raw or cooked into jams and jellies. The seed can be eaten raw also or roasted. It yields edible oil. Both fruits and leaves, on the other hand, yield black dye.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Chrysobalanus icaco is an evergreen Tree growing to 6 m (19ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Chrysobalanus atacorensis A.Chev. Chrysobalanus chariensis A.Chev. Chrysobalanus ellipticus Sol. ex

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

Edible portion: Fruit, Kernel, Seeds, Nut. Fruit - raw or cooked. A fairly sweet, white, spongy flesh[ 307 ]. They are stewed in sugar, dried like prunes or made into jams and jellies[ 301 ]. The ovoid fruit is 2 - 5cm long[ 200 ]. The purple or red-skinned fruits are considered to have a superior flavour to white forms[ 307 ]. Seed - raw or cooked[ 301 ]. A delicious flavour[ 200 ]. They are roasted and eaten[ 301 ]. When preserving the fruits, they are pierced right through the centre, including the seed. This allows the juice of the fruit to penetrate the seed and, after separation from the shell, the nut-like kernel is eaten[ 301 ]. An edible oil can be extracted from the seed[ 307 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidiarrhoeal  Astringent  Dysentery  Skin

The root, bark, fruit and leaves all contain tannins and are astringent[ 307 , 348 ]. They are used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery and dyspepsia[ 307 , 348 ]. They are used externally as a wash to treat skin complaints[ 307 ]. The juice of the roots and leaves, mixed with oil, is used to contract the sphincters of the vulva by women wishing to simulate virginity, and the same preparation is used by men for treating flaccid scrotum[ 348 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses

Dye  Hedge  Lighting  Oil  Soil stabilization  Tannin

Other uses rating: Medium (3/5). Seaside tree, Backyard tree, Screening, Hedging, Dune stabilization, Planter, Topiary, Xerophytic, Border, Espalier, Pollard, Planted as an ornamental shrub. Agroforestry Uses: Plants can be grown as a hedge[ 307 ]. They are particularly well suited for use by the sea[ 307 ]. The plant often forms large, rambling, impenetrable thickets and so it has been used to stabilize sand dunes[ 307 ]. Other Uses: An oil can be obtained from the seed[ 307 ] The seeds are so rich in oil that they can be strung on sticks and burnt like a candle[ 307 ]. The bark is rich in tannins[ 307 ]. A black dye can be obtained from the fruit[ 307 , 510 ]. A black dye can be obtained from the leaves[ 510 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Espalier  Food Forest  Hedge

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Living fence  Management: Standard  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Protein-oil

A plant for the humid lowland tropics[ 307 ]. Prefers a position in full sun or light shade[ 307 ]. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[ 200 ]. Plants can succeed in both poor and fertile soils[ 335 ]. Requires a well-drained soil[ 307 ]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[ 307 ]. Very tolerant of salt-laden winds[ 307 ]. Plants have escaped from cultivation and become naturalized in some areas[ 307 ]. There is at least one named form[ 301 ]. Plants usually flower in two or more flushes per year[ 335 ], and can flower intermittently throughout the year[ 307 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Living fence  Simply managed rows of shrubs and trees.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.
  • Staple Crop: Protein-oil  (16+ percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Annuals include soybeans, peanuts, sunflower seeds. Perennials include seeds, beans, nuts, and fruits such as almond, Brazil nut, pistachio, walnut, hazel, and safou.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in a nursery seedbed. A moderate germination rate can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 20 - 25 days[ 420 ]. When the seedlings are 4 - 5cm tall, pot them up into individual containers and they should be ready to plant out 6 - 7 months later[ 420 ]. Soft nodal cuttings. Woody stem cuttings, Layering.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Coco Plum or Chysobalanus icaco. Other Names: Icaco plum, Bopace, Cocoaplum, Ebenga, Ebenha, Enhapitche, Hicaco, Man du'a

Native Range

NORTHERN AMERICA: United States, Florida (south), Mexico, Tamaulipas, Campeche, Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán de Ocampo, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, Yucatán, SOUTHERN AMERICA: Bahamas, Cuba, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Puerto Rico, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Brazil, Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Maranhão, Pará, Paraíba, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Amapá, Colombia, Ecuador, AFRICA: Central African Republic, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Benin, Côte D Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Angola, Zambia.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

May be weedy

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Vulnerable A1c

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment



Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Chrysobalanus icaco  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.