Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Scrambling shrub or small tree with simple, opposite spines. Young leaves and twigs often pubescent. The fruits are edible.
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Derivation of specific name

edulis: edible
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Description

Small, deciduous to sometimes evergreen tree. Bark grey to brown, rough and flaking in to squares lower on older trunks, grey and smooth higher up and on younger trees; branches corky and with swollen nodes and conspicuous lenticels. Leaves opposite, 3-veined from (near) the base, narrowly elliptic, 3-8 cm long, rigid or leathery, hairless with a hard, spiny apical point; margin entire; petiole thick, up to 4 mm long. Inflorescences in tight, axillary clusters, c. 2 cm wide; flowers greenish-white, up to 9 mm long. Fruit up to 12 cm in diameter, with a hard, woody shell, bluish-green, yellow when ripe, edible but less tasty than of other species.
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Derivation of specific name

pungens; prickly, referring to the leaf tips
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Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Western Ghats & Eastern Ghats, Moist Deciduous to Evergreen Forests"
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Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Western Ghats, Evergreen Forests"
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Brief

Flowering class: Dicot Habit: Climber
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Miscellaneous Details

Notes: Dry Evergreen to Dry Deciduous Forests
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Brief

Flowering class: Dicot Habit: Shrub
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Miscellaneous Details

Fruits edible.
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Distribution

Worldwide distribution

Widespread in tropical Africa, Asia from Yemen to India and Thailand and the Indian Ocean islands
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Worldwide distribution

Tropical Africa to Botswana and Limpopo, North-West, Gauteng and Mpumalanga, South Africa.
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"Karnataka: Hassan Tamil Nadu: Coimbatore, Dharmapuri, Nilgiri"
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"
Global Distribution

Peninsular India

Indian distribution

State - Kerala, District/s: Palakkad, Idukki, Malappuram, Kannur, Kollam, Thrissur, Wayanad

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"Maharashtra: Kolhapur, Ratnagiri, Satara, Sindhudurg Karnataka: Belgaum, Chikmagalur, Coorg, Hassan, Mysore, N. Kanara, Shimoga Kerala: Idukki, Kannur, Kollam, Malapuram, Palakkad, Thrissur Tamil Nadu: Coimbatore, Nilgiri"
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"
Global Distribution

India and Sri Lanka

Indian distribution

State - Kerala, District/s: Palakkad

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"Karnataka: Belgaum, Dharwar Tamil Nadu: Coimbatore, Nilgiri, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar"
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"Found in deciduous forests and scrub jungles from plains to 900m. Common. India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar."
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Endemic Distribution

Peninsular India
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Distribution in Egypt

Gebel Elba.

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Global Distribution

Southeast Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, tropical east Africa, Senegal, Transvall, Namibia, Madagascar, Socotra, souther Arabia, Pakistan, India, Burma, Thailand, sri Lanka, Indian ocean.

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Physical Description

Morphology

"
Flower

In terminal or axillary cymes; white. Flowering from February-April.

Fruit

A globose berry; green tinged red, dark blue when ripe; seeds 4, ellipsoid. Fruiting throughout the year.

Field tips

Branchlets with forked spines. Latex white.

Leaf Arrangement

Opposite-decussate

Leaf Type

Simple

Leaf Shape

Elliptic-ovate

Leaf Apex

Acute

Leaf Base

Acute

Leaf Margin

Entire

"
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Description

Plants small trees or climbing in the wild, much branched shrubs to 5 m in cultivation; spines usually simple, straight or recurved, 2.5-5 cm. Leaf blade ovate to obovate or suborbicular, 2-5 X 2-4 cm, leathery, glabrous; lateral veins 3-5 pairs, inconspicuous. Sepals very narrowly oblong, 2-4.5 mm, ciliolate, glabrous outside. Corolla white or tinged with pink, glabrous outside, slightly hairy at mouth and on inner lobe surface, tube 0.9-2 cm; lobes ovate or oblong, 3-9 mm, acute at apex, overlapping to right. Berries purple to red, globose, 7-10 mm in diam. Seeds 2-4. 2n = 22.
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Description

Shrubs or small trees to 5 m tall; spines simple or forked, 1.2-6 cm. Leaf blade ovate to elliptic, 0.5-5.5 X 0.3-2.5 cm, leathery, finely puberulent abaxially, base rounded or acute, apex acute or short acuminate; lateral veins 3-5 pairs, conspicuous. Cymes terminal or axillary, 3-7-flowered, finely puberulent. Sepals ca. 2.5 1 mm, without glands. Corolla white, tube ca. 1 cm, lobes 5-7 mm, overlapping to right; ovules 1 in each locule. Berries shining black, subglobose, 5-12 mm. Seeds 3-5 mm. Fl. Mar-May, fr. Sep-Dec. 2n = 22.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Climbing shrubs, thorns 1-3 cm long. Leaves 5-8 x 3-4 cm, ovate, apex acuminate, base rounded, glabrous, lateral nerves 6 or 7 pairs; petiole 5 mm long. Flowers in sessile or peduncled terminal cymes; pedicel 3 mm long, stout; sepals 4 mm long, lanceolate, reddish, pubescent; corolla white, tube 2 cm long, cylindric, curved, bulged towards the apex, lobes 9 mm long, oblong, acute; anthers lanceolate, inserted near the mouth of the corolla tube; carpels united, ovules 1-4 in each. Berry 2 cm across, globose; seeds compressed."
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Diagnostic

"Spinous shrubs, spines long and straight, up to 3.5 cm, sometimes forked; branchlets grey-tomentose. Leaves opposite, to 5 x 2.5 cm, elliptic oblong, obtuse or acute at apex, slightly cuneate at base; lateral nerves about 8 pairs, the lowest pair oblique and arched to meet the rest. Cymes shortly peduncled. Flowers white. Calyx-lobes ovate, villous. Corolla small, tube cylindrica Stamens 5, on the corolla-tube, included; anthers lanceolate. Ovary 2-celled; ovules 1-4 in each cell, rarely more; style filiform; stigma fusiform or columnar, minutely 2-fid. Berry globose, black-purple; seeds 4."
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Diagnostic

"Habit: A spreading, spiny shrub, upto 4m."
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Diagnostic

Habit: Shrub
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Diagnostic

Habit: Shrub
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Diagnostic

Habit: Shrub
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Synonym

Antura edulis Forsskål, Fl. Aegypt.-Arab. 63. 1775; Arduina edulis (Forsskål) Spreng; Carandas edulis (Forsskål) Hiern; Jasminonerium edule (Forsskål) Kuntze.
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Synonym

Carissa diffusa Roxburgh; C. yunnanensis Tsiang & P. T. Li.
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Ecology

Habitat

General Habitat

"Common in the plains from the coast, in scrub jungles. Found upto 900m, on degraded slopes. India, Sri Lanka, Burma."
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General Habitat

Evergreen and semi-evergreen forests
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General Habitat

Scrub jungle and dry deciduous forests
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Stony hillsides.

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Habitat & Distribution

S Yunnan [native of tropical Africa and S Arabia]
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Habitat & Distribution

Bushes, roadsides, forest edges. Guizhou, Sichuan, Yunnan [India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand]
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Associations

Insects whose larvae eat this plant species

Cirina forda (Emperor moth) Nephele comma (Comma hawk)
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Population Biology

Frequency

Common
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering and fruiting: January-June
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Flowering and fruiting: July-October
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Life Expectancy

Perennial.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Carissa spinarum

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 spinarum

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

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 edulis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Strychnos pungens

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


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Strychnos pungens

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Folklore

Indigenous Information: Fruits edible.
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Uses

Unripe fruits are pickled and the ripe fruits are eaten raw or made into jams and jellies. Regular intake of the tender fruits helps to cure mouth ulcers.
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Wikipedia

Carissa spinarum

"Currant Bush" redirects here. Not to be confused with Bush Currant (Miconia calvescens).

Carissa spinarum, the Conkerberry or Bush Plum, or හීන් කරබ in Sinhala is a large shrub of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae), widely distributed in tropical regions of Africa, Southern Asia, Australia, and various islands of theIndian Ocean.[1] It is most well known in Australia, where it is also called Currant Bush or, more ambiguously, "native currant" or even "black currant". It is, however, neither closely related to plums (Prunus) nor to true currants (Ribes), which belong to entirely different lineages of eudicots. In India, it is also called Wild Karanda, referring to the related Karanda (C. carandas). Carissa spinarum is often discussed under its many obsolete synonyms (see below).

Foliage of the small-leaved "ovata" type

It grows as a multi-stemmed shrub, 0.5 to 3 metres in height. The leaves are glossy green, opposite, narrow ovate to lanceolate and 1–5 cm in length. The branches bear thorns of 1–3 cm length. White, star-shaped flowers ~1 cm across are followed by ovate green berries, 1–2 cm in length, which turn black or dark purple when ripe.

Ecology[edit]

Ripe fruit
Raw fruit

C. spinarum is most often found in semiarid coastal regions on fine-textured soils such as clays and clay-loams; in more arid regions the plant tends to be confined to areas of higher moisture such as at the base of hills or floodout areas. But it has a high ecological tolerance and can live in a wide range of habitats. In Australia for example, it is often found in association with Eucalyptus brownii, Poplar Box (E. populnea), Gidgee (Acacia cambagei) or Brigalow (A. harpophylla), in coastal rainforest, gallery forest and vine thickets in regions receiving in excess of 900 mm annual rainfall, as well as softwood scrubs and open eucalypt savannas receiving less than 700 mm annual rainfall.

Conkerberries are edible, but only when fully ripe; they have a sweet flavour, but the milky sap of this plant – and its unripe fruit – is poisonous, as typical for the Apocynaceae. They are a popular bush tucker food for Australian Aborigines in Central Australia. The fruit is known as merne arrankweye in the Arrernte language, anwekety in Anmatyerr and nganango in Pintupi. The fruits are also a popular food for the Australian Bustard, Emu and many other birds in its range. Its leaves provide food for butterflies (e.g. Australian Crow, Euploea core) and moths (e.g. some hawkmoths)

C. spinarum is frequently a weed in grazing land in northern Australia, choking out grasses, reducing the ability of livestock to feed, interfering with stock handling and providing a refuge for vermin. The plant is capable of reproducing rapidly by layering and is difficult to control mechanically and expensive to manage with herbicides. On the other hand, it has been used in attempts to restore small-bird habitat in disturbed dry rainforest in Queensland, Australia.

Parts of the plant are used medicinally for joint and muscle pain by the Maasai people of Kenya.[2]

Synonyms[edit]

Well known for its fruit to locals and quite variable across its wide range and diverse habitat types, the Conkerberry has been described time and again by botanists under a number of names. Robert Brown alone described it no less than four times under different names, and R.H. Beddome not only described it twice as a "new species" of Carissa, but believed two other growth-forms of it to be mere varieties of Karonda (C. carandas). But in fact, C. spinarum was already named by Carl Linné in his 1771 Mantissa Plantarum, and thus all subsequent names are treated as junior synonyms.

The following list gives the names under which the Conkerberry has been placed in Carissa. Apart from that, it has also been assigned, under various names, to Antura and Arduina (both now synonymized with Carissa), as well as Azima, Cabucala, Chapelieria, Damnacanthus, Strychnos, Carandas, and Jasminonerium.[3]

"Edulis"-type habitus
"Ovata"-type habitus

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Bussmann, R. W., et al. (2006). Plant use of the Maasai of Sekenani Valley, Maasai Mara, Kenya. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 2 22.
  3. ^ Tropicos.org [2009]

References[edit]

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Notes

Comments

Cultivated for its edible fruit.
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Comments

The roots are used to treat hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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