Carissa macrocarpa Apocynaceae
Natal Plum kar-ISS-uh ma-kro-CAR-pa
- Broadleaf evergreen, dense shrub, usually 5-7 ft (1.5-2 m) tall but can reach 30 ft (9 m), closely branched,
upright, rounded form; branches with forked, stout spines to 4 cm long. Leaves simple, opposite,
ovate, 3-6.5 cm long, leathery, glossy, rich green. Flowers white, solitary, 5-petaled, star-shaped,
fragrant; blooms throughout the year. Fruit oval, somewhat the size of plums, 2.5-4 cm long,
fleshy, at first green, when ripe, red or purple, thin skinned; has raspberry- or cranberry-like flavor.
- Sun or light shade. Easy to grow, excellent in ocean wind and salt spray. Often sheared or
- Hardy to USDA Zone (9)10 (tropical) Native to South
Africa. Prior to 1994, Natal was a province in South Africa, now it is combined with the
former homeland of KwaZulu into the provence of KwaZulu-Natal.
- Several selections are available, including 'Boxwood Beauty' (very compact), 'Fancy' (upright,
large fruit), 'Green Carpet' (low growing), 'Prostrata' (low growing), 'Tomlinson' (thornless), and 'Variegata'
(cream to yellow variegation).
- It is widely planted in Old and New World tropics, but Sunset Western Garden Book points out
that so many gardeners find this South African native appealing that it is grown in Zones far beyond safe
limits. In some regions it is grown outside only during the summer months.
- macrocarpa: large fruited.