About 150 species of mainly evergreen shrubs, trees and vines make up this tropical American genus. They have leathery leaves of variable shape and produce spikes or panicles of very small separate male and female flowers. The flowers are succeeded by segmented purple fruit, edible in some species (Coccoloba uvifera) and of economic importance locally.
These tropical plants will not tolerate prolonged cool temperatures and do best in moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Some are highly adapted to seashore conditions. Propagate from seed or cuttings.
Species and varieties: