Plant profile: Sea grape

Resistance to direct sun, wind and draughts makes this shrub perfect for the UAE.

Kathleen Konicek-Moran for The National
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Resistance to direct sun, wind and draughts makes this shrub perfect for the UAE

The Coccoloba uvifera, or sea grape, is a hearty shrub and tree that thrives in direct sun, is wind resistant and highly tolerant of salt and draughts. Often used as either a stabiliser on beach ­edges or windbreakers, the fruit can be used to make jam or eaten directly from the tree itself. Locally, the Coccoloba uvifera makes for an ­excellent landscaping addition, often used as an informal hedge in places like resorts.

In late summer, the Coccoloba uvifera bears green fruits, which span about 2 centimetres in diameter each and cluster together like grapes. The fruit contains a large pit that constitutes most of its volume.

Once ripened, the fruit turns a purplish colour. Those looking to propagate by seeds should note that the seeds must be used immediately as they will not germinate after being kept in storage.