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Natal-plum

The Carissa macrocarpa is native to tropical and southern Africa (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa).

Evergreen, compact shrub, tall up to 5-6 metres, provided with robust thorns, often forked, long up to about 4 cm; the leaves are egg-shaped, coriaceous, of a glossy deep green colour, with mucronate (ending in a sharp point) apex, long from 3 to 8 cm; the inflorescences are terminal and carry from one to three white or pink perfumed flowers, of a diameter up to about 5 cm. The fruits are ovoid, purple, long up to about 5 cm, berries, with edible pulp.

The plants, of which several varieties do exist in cultivation, is fit for tropical, subtropical and warm-temperate climates, as the aerial part gets damaged already at temperatures of a few degrees under 0°C, especially in the young plants. Not particular in soil, provided draining, it resists also to short periods of drought, to the wind and to the saltiness, therefore its utilization is advisable next to the sea; the best exposition is in full sun, but it adapts also to partial shade.

  • Category Flowering shrubs
  • Genus Carissa
  • Species macrocarpa
  • Families Apocynaceae
  • Habit Shrub
  • Climatic Zones Sub-tropical, USDA 10 b (Southern Italy and islands)
  • Leaves Evergreen
  • Flower Simple flower
  • Geographical Area of Origin Oceania Middle-north africa
  • Flowering and Fruiting Period September August July June May
  • Form Grown as shrub / bush
  • Color Flower / Leaves / Fruits Green White
  • Parfumed yes
  • Favorite soil Sub-acid / medium acid Middle-Dough / Medium soil
  • Water needs Medium
  • Light Exposure Full light / Full sun Medium shade / Half shade
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