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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Multi-stemmed shrub to 4 m. Young stems glabrous, greenish, strongly rugose. Spines usually forked twice, but once-forked spines do occur. Leaves thickly textured, 2-4 - 7 cm, ovate to subcircular, glabrous; apex obtuse, mucronate. Inflorescences of sessile or shortly pedunculate 1-few-flowered cymes. Flowers 5-merous, white, heterostylous. Calyx 2-5 mm, with tiny dark scales at base on inner side. Corolla: tube 11-18.5 mm long; lobes broadly elliptic, overlapping to the left. Fruit large, 3-5 cm long when fresh, red, edible with many seeds..
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© Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten and Petra Ballings

Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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Derivation of specific name

macrocarpa: with large fruits
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© Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten and Petra Ballings

Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Western Ghats, Cultivated"
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Distribution

Worldwide distribution

Mozambique and South Africa
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Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Karnataka: N. Kanara Tamil Nadu: Nilgiri
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Shrubs or small trees to 5 m tall. Spines 1- or 2-forked, 2-4 cm, strong. Leaf blade broadly ovate, 2.5-7.5 X 2-5 cm, thick leathery, glabrous, base rounded to obtuse, apex mucronate, lateral veins obscure. Cymes terminal, (1-)3-flowered. Pedicel 2-3 mm. Flowers fragrant. Sepals very narrowly ovate, 3-6 mm. Corolla white or pink, tube 1.1-1.8 cm, pubescent inside; lobes oblong, 0.9-2.4 cm, overlapping to left. Ovules numerous. Berries bright red to violet, ovoid, 2-5 cm, ca. 16-seeded. Fl. Aug. 2n = 66.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

Habit: Shrub
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Synonym

Arduina macrocarpa Ecklon, S. African J. 1: 372. 1830; A. grandiflora E. Meyer; Carissa grandiflora (E. Meyer) A. de Candolle.
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Type Information

Isoneotype for Arduina macrocarpa Eckl.
Catalog Number: US 2582884
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: ; Status verified from secondary sources
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Werdermann & H. Oberdieck
Year Collected: 1958
Locality: Zwischen Umzinto und Durban., Natal, South Africa, Africa
  • Isoneotype: Ecklon, C. F. 1830. S. African J. Sci. 1: 372.; Leeuwenberg, A. J. & Van Dilst, F. J. 2001. Wageningen Univ. Papers. 2001-1: 27.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat & Distribution

S Fujian and S Guangdong [introduced from S Africa]
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Carissa grandiflora

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 10
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Carissa macrocarpa

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Carissa macrocarpa

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 8
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Wikipedia

Carissa macrocarpa

Carissa, (natal-plum), raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy259 kJ (62 kcal)
13.63 g
1.3 g
0.5 g
Vitamins
Thiamine (B1)
(3%)
0.04 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
(5%)
0.06 mg
Niacin (B3)
(1%)
0.2 mg
Vitamin C
(46%)
38 mg
Trace metals
Calcium
(1%)
11 mg
Iron
(10%)
1.31 mg
Magnesium
(5%)
16 mg
Phosphorus
(1%)
7 mg
Potassium
(6%)
260 mg
Sodium
(0%)
3 mg
Other constituents
Water84.17 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Carissa macrocarpa (Natal Plum), is a shrub native to South Africa, where it is commonly called the Large Num-Num. In Zulu, as well as in the Bantu tribes of Uganda, it is called amatungulu. In Afrikaans the fruit is called Noem-Noem.

C. macrocarpa deals well with salt-laden winds, making it a good choice for coastal areas. It is commonly found in the coastal bush of the Eastern Cape and Natal.[1] It produces shiny, deep green leaves and snowy white flowers whose perfumed scent intensifies at night. Like other Carissa species, C. macrocarpa is a spiny, evergreen shrub containing latex. They bloom for months at a time. The ornamental plump, round, crimson fruit appears in summer and fall (autumn) at the same time as the blooms. In moderate, coastal areas the fruits appear through the year. The fruit can be eaten out of hand or made into pies, jams, jellies, and sauces.[1] Some claim that other than the fruit, the plant is poisonous.[2] However this claim is a myth, possibly based on similarities to other plants with milky sap.[3] The California Poison Control System rates the plant as mildly toxic.[4] It appears in the South African National tree list as number 640.3.

A traditional food plant in Africa, this little-known fruit has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.[5]

Distribution[edit]

Carissa macrocarpa grows mainly in coastal areas in South Africa. It can be found on sand dunes and on the edges of coastal forests in Eastern Cape Province northwards from Natal to Mozambique. Today the plant is also growing commonly in southern Florida and is cultivated in southern California.[5]

Biological aspects[edit]

Leaves - ovate, rounded base, acute apex, lateral veins inconspicuous, thickly coriaceous.
Trunk - many branched, spiny twings; laterx milky.
Flowers - white, large, fragrant, solitary and terminal.
Fruits - purplish-red, oblong to rotund, milky juice.

Horticultural aspects[edit]

Natal plum shrub

Propagation[edit]

Carissa macrocarpa is quite easy to grow. Its seeds germinate 2 to 4 weeks after sowing. The development of the seedlings is very slow at first. Plants cultivated from seeds are bearing fruits within the first 2 years. A vegetative propagation is possible and preferred. The most efficient method consists of notching young branchlets by cutting them halfway through. Then they are bent downwards and allowed to hang limply. After the young branchlets have built a callus, in approximately 2 months, the cutting has to be removed from the parent and planted in sand under moderate shade. Roots form within one month. Carissa macrocarpa will produce fruits within the first 2 years applying this reproduction method.[5]

Fertilizing[edit]

The maintenance of Carissa macrocarpa is simple. The plant needs a standard, balanced fertilizer (equal amount of N, P, K) for successful fruit production.[5]

Pollination[edit]

In the homeland of Carissa macrocarpa night-flying insects pollinates the white, bisexual flowers. Out of its origin area unfruitfulness has been attributed to inadequate pollination. However, hand pollination is possible and in future poor pollination could be avoided by cultivation of floral structures that are highly favourable for self-fertilization.[5]

Orchard design[edit]

Narrow hedges are recommended as orchard design for Carissa macrocarpa due to its prickles. Like this the access to the fruits which are growing on the top of the bush is much simpler. Pruning the plant is beneficial because it induces the development of more fruiting tips. Beyond cutting, little pruning work has to be done to restrain the bush from massive growth. This results in an increasing amount of fruits per plant.[5]

Harvesting[edit]

Cross section of a ripe fruit

With a minimal yield of 3 tons per hectare under commercial production in South Africa, the productivity is considered as high. The main fruit production is in summer with slightly varying ripening times. So each fruit must be picked when it is ripe. Under good growing conditions the plant also produces many fruits during the off-season. During the harvest attention must be paid to the ripe fruits’ skin as it can be easily bruised and is highly perishable.[5]

Cultivars for crop-production[edit]

Horticultural Scientists in South Africa and the USA (Florida and California) have selected and named several Carissa types which tend to produce fruits more reliably. The fruits are larger, have a good texture and contain less seeds. In California they selected Fancy (many large fruits with few seeds), Torrey Pines (good crop-production and abundant pollen), Frank (good pollen supplier but low yield), Chelsey and Serena. In Florida Gifford is one of the best fruit bearers. In Africa C. haematocarpa is defined suitable for drier areas and C. bispinosa for higher altitudes.[5]

Environmental requirements[edit]

Carissa macrocarpa requires warm, moist subtropical climate. It tolerates different exposures as full sun and fairly heavy shade. As a coastal plant it can deal very well with salty ocean spray.

FactorDescription[5]
RainfallUp to 1000 mm/a
DroughtDrought-resistant and no watering requirements during summer rainfall areas
Altitude1000 m a.s.l. (Swaziland); likely up to 1500 m.
ColdCold-tolerant to -5°C; young plants needs protection
WarmthUp to 32°C in the shade (Pretoria); best growth in full sun exposure
SoilAny (limestone, heavy clay, sand) if it drains well
SalinitySalt-tolerant (5000 ppm)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sparrow, Jacqueline and Gil Hanly. (2002), Subtropical Plants: A Practical Gardening Guide, Portland, OR: Timber Press, Inc.
  2. ^ Floridata page for Carissa macrocarpa
  3. ^ Carissa macrocarpa (Eckl.) A.DC., University of Pretoria Botanical Garden, accessed 4 February 2013
  4. ^ CPCS: Toxic Plants, accessed 4 February 2013
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i National Research Council (2008-01-25). "Carissa". Lost Crops of Africa: Volume III: Fruits. Lost Crops of Africa 3. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-10596-5. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
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Notes

Comments

Cultivated for its edible fruit.
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