Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
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Seagrape is found along the coast of the Florida peninsula, from Volusia County southward on the east, and Pasco County southward on the west, plus throughout the keys. The range includes one gulf coast county in Mississippi, Hawaii and other islands throughout the Pacific Ocean and the Carribean, plus Bermuda and both coasts of Central America.
A sprawling shrub that typically grows a little over 2 meters (6 ft.) tall, but can grow as high as 8 meters (26 ft.). Large round, leathery leaves are green, turning red with age or when stressed. Small white flowers are borne in racemes that later form elongated clusters of grape-sized fruit, initially green, then darkening to purple when ripe. Seagrapes have often been used to make jam.
Coccoloba uvifera is highly salt and wind tolerant, and is often used to stabilize beaches. Mild frosts or near-freezing temperatures in its northern ranges can defoliate the plant, but it will recover in spring.