True to its name, this plant grows near the ocean, and its fruit resembles small clusters of grapes. When the fruit begins to grow in the late summer, it is a greenish color, eventually ripening to purple when it is ready to harvest. The leaves of this small tree are large and broad, and look like a fan. Other common names include bay grape, shore-grape, platterleaf, and tagalog.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Caribbean, Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Antibacterial, antifungal, astringent, hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory, and treats nausea, diarrhea, mouth sores, sore throat, gum disease, asthma, cancer
The bark of the sea grape tree was traditionally boiled, and used as a remedy for diarrhea. The young leaves can be boiled, and the infused water used as a mouthwash and gargle to treat oral infections. To prepare an extract, the leaves can be boiled for 4 hours to draw out the compounds. The fruit is edible, and often made into jellies, jams, or wine. The flowers produce nectar, and good quality honey. To treat fungus, macerate the leaves and apply directly to the affected area.