The sea grape tree is endemic to the Caribbean, Central America (Atlantic coast) and tropical regions of America including Florida and the island of Bermuda further north. Today, it is present on various beaches of Martinique where a particular beach bears his name.
This is a totally original tree because it adapts to sandy soils and rocky shoreline. The sea wind shades branched habit and horizontal branches. So it is resistant to wind and is highly tolerant to sea salt. It is also planted near the beaches to stabilize them.
Outside the windy areas is grown for its ornamental aspect because it sports a spherical crown reaching 33 ft high (10 meters high). It withstands a temperature of 36°F maximum. Its beautiful leaves, loose, leathery, rounded and almost circular shape have prominent reddish veins. Green shining, the leaves turn yellow and then red before falling.
The white, fragrant flowers bloom in vertical clusters which then hang under the weight of fruit. There are male and female flowers born in different plants and must be cross-pollinated to the fruit grows. The fruit is the size of a small ball becoming purple when mature. The sea grape has absolutely nothing to do with the grape found in Europe. It contains a large hard core that is the essence of the fruit.
Sea grapes are good for general health. Its juice can treat digestive problems and several other diseases.
The pulp, acid-sweet flavor, appreciates on site at the beach or macerated fruit punch. We can also use it to make jam. The fermented juice gives a popular wine. The sap of the vine of the sea is used in the West Indies and Jamaica for dyeing and tanning leather.