Indigenous Plant of the Week | Large Num Num

Published on November 25th 2019
A small bird perched on a tree branch
If you're looking for a fast-growing hardy shrub that can withstand coastal conditions, can be pruned into a hedge, and attract wildlife to your garden, look no further than the Large Num Num (Carissa macrocarpa).
**A quick look at Large num num
Latin name | Carissa macrocarpa
Common names | Large Num Num, Natal plum, Grootnoemnoem, Amatangulu
Family | Apocynaceae
With its glossy dark green leaves, white star-shaped flowers and oval red fruit, Carissa macrocarpa is of interest throughout the year and is perfect for coastal and water-wise gardens.
Carissa macrocarpa has strong, stiff spines and a dense growth habit, making it ideal for barrier planting, and can often be seen growing as hedges or informal screening. Furthermore, tt is wind-tolerant, fast-growing and responds well to pruning. When pruned, a non-poisonous, milky sap seeps from all parts of the plant.
A close up of a flower
Fragrant white flowers are produced from spring to mid-summer followed by red, oval-shaped fruit.
This indigenous shrub is low-maintenance, evergreen and perfect for the wildlife garden, attracting numerous birds and butterflies with its delicious red oval-shaped fruit. Rated among our nicest indigenous fruit, the juicy red berries can be eaten raw or made into delicious jams and jellies. It's no coincidence that the epithet macrocarpa, meaning 'large fruit', was used to name this indigenous favourite.
A close up of a fruit tree branch

Growing Big Num Num

Carissa macrocarpa can be cultivated from seed and cuttings. It flourishes in a sunny or semi-shaded position in rich, well-composted soil. Water in dry weather and protect from frost.
To grow as a hedge, space plants 1m apart and prune if necessary.
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