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Natal Plum
Scientific Name: Carissa macrocarpa (Eckl.) A. DC.
Synonym: Carissa grandiflora
Family: Apocynaceae
Natal Plum (Carissa  macrocarpa)
Carissa macrocarpa 'Boxwood Beauty' unripe fruit
Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 13,22-27
USDA: 9b-10

Frost Tolerance: Tender in Phoenix, needs some protection: foliage damaged at 28 F (-2 C), serious damage at 24 F (-4 C)

Sun Exposure: Full sun to light shade

Origin: South Africa

Growth Habits: Evergreen shrub, with a loose mounding shape, 2 to 7 feet tall (0.6-2 m), 7 to 10 feet spread (2-3 m) the height depends on the variety; stems generally thorny with forked spines, milky sap; thick, oval, shiny dark green leaves

Watering Needs: Little to regular water in summer, tolerates drought and some salt


The Natal Plum is a spiny South African shrub used as a hedge or free standing, it has interestingly formed branches and shiny deep-green leaves, offset by white and pink flowers. It grows quickly and tolerates a wide range of lighting conditions, making good barriers, hedges, low screens, and foundation plantings.

Natal Plum (Carissa  macrocarpa)

Blooming Habits:
White, fragrant, solitary, star-shaped flowers, 1 to 2 inches wide (2.5-5 cm), throughout the growing season.

Fruiting Habits:
In the summer and fall, the plant bears a 2 inches long (5 cm), egg-shaped red fruit that exudes a white astringent latex unless fully ripe. The fruit turns red when ripe, and can then be eaten out-of-hand but also makes good cranberry-like preserves.

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Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

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