Carissa macrocarpa (aka Natal Plum)

This plant is widely sold in the western U.S. as a “boulevard” plant. It is primarily used alongside commercial buildings and in parking lot medians. C. macrocarpa is highly regarded for its resilience in areas of foot traffic. The fruit – even when fully ripe – is considered insipid due to a significant latex content and lack of flavor. The fruit is completely ignored by wildlife here and few if any persons eat it except on a trial basis.

Here it is at my local gas station:


I think they are fairly tasty, tart/sweet kinda dried cranberryish.
Here is mine, about 8’ high x 8’ across


This particular bush has pretty large fruit…

…and double bifurcated spines.


I also have this one with small fruit, seven petaled flowers and mostly single bifurcated thorns.

Seven petals

Single bifurcation


I only had opportunity to taste them once. I found it nice enough to be worth growing if only it would survive where I live.

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I feel like this fruit actually has potential as a good breeding program. I can only conclude that the flavor is variable, since the reports on flavor are inconsistent. Green Deane rates it highly, going as far as saying it has commercial potential. He likened it to sweet cranberry. Jared from Weird Explorer said it has a distinct berry taste with a creamy flavor, and likened it to blackberry milkshake.

I think the better ones should be sought out, propagated and bred to improve on its quality. It seems as worthwhile a candidate for improvement as any berry or garden fruit.

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My conclusion has been: at best they are talking about a different plant, at worst they are sellers misrepresenting the inventory they obtained from Home Depot.

I’ve never had success trying to obtain a better tasting cultivar and would be happy to pay for it – including shipping and phytosanitary costs.


I used to eat them occasionally in Miami, where they are popular landscape/hedge plantings for waterfront areas since they can handle salt spray. If they are 100% ripe they can be palatable or even ok tasting, but even for the best tasting ones I find the latex unpleasant. Leaves your tongue feeling sticky. I’ve never had a low latex specimen, but that should be the breeding goal if anyone finds it worth the effort.

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@Richard The former is a forager, the latter a professional contortionist, so I don’t think they have any stakes in the commercial sector. That might leave an incorrect ID… I’ll post Deane’s video.


I wonder if the other Carissa have low latex fruit. C. bispinosa is consistently highly rated, but it’s a smaller fruit. One has size, one has flavor, crossbreeding seems the best route! Though that’s my answer to everything. When all you have is a hammer… :sweat_smile:

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Somebody with 94 videos is in it for the YouTube revenue.

I got seeds. I placed an order at Trade Winds Fruit for Sweet Granadilla (Passiflora ligularis), African Peach (Nauclea latifolia), and Phalsa (Grewia asiatica), and when I saw they had Natal Plum seeds for relatively cheap, I decided to go for them. I don’t have very high expectations, but I’d like to experience it for myself.

How long from germination to fruit?

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