Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Natal plum - from seed to shrub

This natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa) which comes from my native country South Africa, grows in very similar conditions back home. Its native to the Kwazulu-Natal province that flanks the Indian Ocean and has similar sandy soil and a sub-tropical climate as here.

As mentioned in a previous post, I'm also waiting impatiently for it to fruit for the first time. It had a couple of blooms last spring, but this spring it is flowering much more, to the extent that you can smell the sweet perfume when you walk past it, almost like a gardenia, but not quite. Apparently the flowers are pollinated by a moth back home, so I don't know what will be pollinating them here - although I did see a prime specimen at Mounts Botanical garden with fruit. Unfortunately the fruit was past prime and tasted horrible, so I can't say for sure what they taste like.

It's taken about 3 years to reach this size, and its probably about 5 feet tall and about 8 feet wide and beautiful, but beware its has some nasty thorns !

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