AZ Arboretums

Carissa mauscarpe

Natal plum

Common: Natal plum
Family: Apocynacea
Origin: South Africa
Sunset zones: 22-24
Light: Bloom and fruit best in full sun, but will take fairly heavy shade
Soil: Accepts variety of soils, exposures
Water: Fairly drought tolerant once established; needs moderate water during the warm season when young.
Temperature: Damaged at 28 F. Recovers quickly in spring.

Strong, upright, rounding shrub. Fast growing to 5-7 ft. and as wide.

Short green thorny stems supporting closely set leaves. Makes a nice transition between landscape themes. Used as screen or hedge; spines discourage trespassers.

Neat plant to use as dark background, and around patio and pool. Oriental, tropical look. Leathery, almost succulent, shiny, rich green 3-in. oval leaves; spines along branches and at end of each twig.

Fragrant starlike white flowers in spring followed by edible, red, plum-shaped 1-2 inch fruit in fall.

Prune to control erratic growth; cut back vertical shoots on ground covers to encourage spreading. Easy to grow; don't plant near walkways where spines can be annoying to passersby.