Natal Plum

Carissa macrocarpa

Big Num-Num, Groot Noemnoem (Afr.), Amatungulu

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The Natal Plum is a dense thorny evergreen shrub to small tree. The oval, pink or red fruit is edible and rich in Vitamin C, magnesium and phosphorous and follows pretty fragrant white starry flowers. It may also, in addition to its sweet fruit and sweetly scented flowers, double as a neat security hedge. It is easy to grow in coastal regions and an option for xeriscaping and windy areas. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape.
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Flowering time

Summer, Autumn, Spring

Fruiting time

Summer, Autumn, Spring


Harvest the fruits once mature and good color has developed. This occurs roughly two years after it was planted. Be delicate when picking the fruits as they bruise easily and use as fresh as possible.



The seed is best sown fresh or in the spring. Keep moist until well-rooted.


Take 10-15cm cuttings in Spring or Autumn.

Special features

Attracts birds

The fruit is a food source for many birds and other animals too!

Attracts useful insects

Bees love to visit the flowers.

Drought resistant

Once established, the plant can withstand dry spells and wind.

Hedge plant

Effective evergreen hedge with thorns makes it an effective security fence. it is often clipped in a more formal form too!

Attractive flowers

White fragrant star-shaped flowers with five petals.

Attractive leaves

Glossy green leaves.

Attractive fruits

The fruit is a glossy pinkish red colour. It is edible and is highly nutritional.

Attracts butterflies

Wind break

Attracts bees

Special features


Southern Africa, South Africa and Mozambique

Natural climate

Subtropical Coastal



Full Sun, Full Shade, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture


Soil type

Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Acid

Frost hardiness




The fruit is wonderful fresh or made into a preserve.




Flower colour





Diseases include bacterial, fungal and viral infections, but usually plants are problem-free.


profile iconCarissa macrocarpa
by Berenice Carolus, Harold Porter NBG, March 2004. With additions by Yvonne Reynolds (Copyright South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa)
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