Carissa bispinosa in flower

Carissa bispinosa

Common name: Forest num-num, Zulu name: umVusankunzi

Carissa bispinosa fruit

On a recent walk in the Dargle mist-belt forest, visitors saw many of these lovely understorey shrubs in flower.  The glossy foliage and fragrant, starry-white, jasmine-like flowers make quite a show and often, the red berries are found on the plant at the same time.  The small, ovoid, fruits are edible and delicious and make good jams and jellies (if you can collect enough!).  Visitors to the KZN coast will be familiar with the scarlet fruits of Carissa macroparpa or Amathungulu.  The scrambling shrub (1-4m) is evergreen, dense and twiggy, with forked spines on the branches which make Carissa an excellent choice for hedges.  The sweetly scented flowers and fruit attract butterflies, insects and birds while game browse the leaves.  The roots are used medicinally to treat toothache. 

On the first Thursday of every month, The Dargle Conservancy, in conjunction with Barend Booysen, hosts a forest walk at Kilgobbin Cottage. This is a wonderful opportunity to see Carissa bispinosa and other forest species up close. Phone Barend for further details 082-7870797 or to book your place – cost R20.00 per person.

Click on any of the links below to see another Dargle wildflower