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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 9 | Polygonaceae

22. Coccoloba Browne, Civ. Nat. Hist. Jamaica. 209. 1756. (as Coccolobis).
[name conserved]

Sea-grape [Greek, coccos, seed or berry, and lobos, capsule or pod, alluding to fleshy hypanthium surrounding fruit]

Craig C. Freeman

Trees or shrubs, evergreen; roots woody. Stems erect or spreading, glabrous or pubescent distally. Leaves persistent, cauline, alternate, petiolate; ocrea often deciduous, membranous to coriaceous; blade lanceolate to round or transversely elliptic, margins entire. Inflorescences terminal, racemelike, pedunculate. Pedicels present. Flowers functionally unisexual, some plants having only staminate flowers, others with only pistillate flowers, base stipelike; perianth white or greenish white, campanulate, glabrous; tepals 5, connate proximally, sepaloid, monomorphic. Staminate flowers 1-7 per ocreate fascicle, perianth nonaccrescent; stamens 8; filaments connate at base, adnate to perianth, glabrous; anthers white or bluish white, elliptic to round; pistil rudimentary. Pistillate flowers 1 per ocreate fascicle, perianth accrescent and fleshy in fruit; stamens rudimentary; styles 3, erect, distinct; stigmas capitate. Achenes usually included in fleshy perianth tube, brown to black, unwinged, bluntly 3-gonous, glabrous. Seeds: embryo straight. x = 11.

Species ca. 120 (2 in the flora): tropical, s North America (including Mexico), West Indies, Central America, South America.

The hypanthium usually completely invests the achene in both species of Coccoloba in the flora, becoming juicy and somewhat astringent at maturity. The fruits of C. uvifera are edible raw or are used to make jelly or wine (E. L. Little Jr. et al. 1969). Both species also enjoy some popularity in landscaping due to their attractive fruiting racemes and evergreen foliage, which on the two species in the flora is bronze colored when young (R. A. Howard 1958).

1 Leaf blades lanceolate, ovate, obovate, or elliptic, length usually 2-3 times width   1 Coccoloba diversifolia
+ Leaf blades round to transversely elliptic, length equaling or less than width   2 Coccoloba uvifera

Lower Taxa


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