This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(aboriginal name). Apocyndceae. Very branchy spinose shrubs of the tropics of the eastern hemisphere, cultivated for ornament or hedges, but here mainly for the edible berry-like fruits.
Flowers white, solitary or in cymes; lobes of calyx and corolla 5, the 5 stamens free and included in the throat, the ovary 2-loculed: leaves opposite and thick, simple. - About 30 species. Used abroad as greenhouse plants but grown in this country only in S. Fla., and Calif. Prop, by seeds and cuttings of ripe wood.
Carandas, Linn. Caraunda. Christ's-Thorn. Evergreen shrub or small tree, with dark green ovate or elliptic mucronate entire leaves, strong axillary spines (which are often forked) and fragrant white flowers in clusters of 2-3, the corolla twisted to the left in the bud: fruit the size of a cherry (1 in. diam.), reddish, pleasant-flavored. India. L.B.C. 7:663. - Reaches 20 ft. Half-hardy in Cent. Fla. The fruits are eaten from the hand or made into a jelly much like currants when ripe, and pickled when green.
Desf. (C. ardulna, Lam.). Amatungulu. Mauitzgula. Spines strong, often 2 in. long: leaves ovate and subcordate, mucronate, glabrous and entire: flowers white, the corolla twisted to the right in the bud. S. Africa - A choice evergreen shrub, rather hardy, with thick camellia-like very glossy leaves: flowers large, fragrant, white, and borne profusely and continuously: fruit dark red, size of a cherry, good. L.B.C. 4:387. - Closely resembles C. grandiflora, but flowers slightly smaller and fruits in clusters; seeds lanceolate.
DC. Natal Plum. Spiny shrub: leaves ovate-acute, tapering to the base: flowers large, white, fragrant, solitary and terminal, twisted to the right, heterogenous: fruit red, 1-1 1/2 in. long, resembling cranberries in flavor when cooked, and having a papery skin, milky juice and few small almost circular seeds. Sauce made from this fruit is almost indistinguishable in flavor from cranberry sauce, but the fruits ripen so irregularly, although almost continually, as to make the fruit suitable only for home-garden use unless handled on a large scale. Said to be the finest hedge plant in S. Africa B.M. 6307.
DC. Spines weak: leaves smaller, ovate-acute, subcordate, mucronate; peduncles short, forked, axillary: flowers with lance-acuminate calyx-lobes, the corolla twisted to the right in the bud. S. Africa - Perhaps not different from C. bispinosa.
C. edulis, Vahl. A straggling shrub with small purple edible fruit from tropical Africa introduced from Abyssinia, but has not yet been thoroughly tested. The plant in the American trade under this name is described as much taller than C. Carandas and more vigorous: leaves persistent, ovate-acuminate: flowers 10-25 in axillary clusters, white and pink, jasmine-scented: berries oval, red but turning black at maturity, 1-seeded. - C. ovata, R. Br., from Austral., a more open shrub than any of the preceding, the small fruits of which are edible and used for jams, has been introduced by the Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction as a possible stock for the more tender species, in the hope of extending the range of these fruits - C. spinarum, DC, a small edible-fruited evergreen shrub from India is said to be an important element in reforestation since it persists on the poorest and rockiest soils in spite of being greedily eaten by sheep and goats. S.C. Stuntz.†