Carissa macrocarpa

Carissa macrocarpa (Eckl.) A. DC.

Common Names: Natal Plum, American Cherry

Family: Apocynaceae

Habit: Carissa macrocarpa grows as thin shrub up to 4 meters in height.  The stems have grooves and ridges as well as bifurcating spines to 3 cm in length.  The coriaceous, glabrous leaves are arranged oppositely, to 6 cm long, 2 cm wide, ovate to suborbicular with and entire margin and obtuse and mucronate leaf apex.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are solitary or in cymes in leaf axils.  The calyx has 5 unfused, greenish sepals.  The corolla has 5 white petals that are fused forming a tube with the elongate lobes overlapping to one side forming a pinwheel shape and slightly pubescent. There are 5 stamens fused to the corolla tube.  The ovary is superior and has two locules and many ovules.  The fruit is an oval red berry.

Habitat: Carissa macrocarpa grows in Human Altered environments (yards and gardens).

Distribution: Carissa macrocarpa is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago. It is native to central and southern Africa. It is now widespread as an ornamental throughout the Lucayan Archipelago, the Caribbean region, Central and North America and parts of Asia.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Carissa macrocarpa is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

The fruit is edible and slightly lime tasting.