Forest Num-num | Hedgethorn – Carissa bispinosa

The Forest Num-num, Carissa bispinosa, also known as Hedgethorn, is a dense medium-sized multi-stemmed evergreen, fruit bearing bush, twiggy shrub or small tree that can grow 2 to 7 meters in height. It is indigenous to South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland were common in forest understorey or scrub.

Forest Num-num plants contain a milky sap and their branches are often hairy and displaying a recurred forked pattern. Branches are with spurs that are once- or twice-forked.

Carissa bispinosa leaves are opposite, simple, broadly ovate or ovate-elliptic, with a smooth edge, fine-looking leathery, glossy dark green above, paler below, heart-shaped and narrowing to a sharp-pointed tip. Flowers are small, jasmine-like starry-white or sometimes hued pink, with a long, slender inner floral tube..

Flowers are attractive and sweetly perfumed, 1.3 cm in diameter, born on clusters at the tips of branchlets, followed by scarlet to crimson, oval, plum like fruits. It is common to find fruit and flowers on the same plant.

Forest Num-num Fruit

The Forest Num-num fruit is a small, 1.5cm in diameter, ovoid, bright red berry. It is edible and although the skin is somewhat milky, it has a delightful flavor. Fruit is consumed fresh or made into jams and jellies.

Forest Num-num Propagation Methods

Plant propagation is by seed. Young plants need to be protected from cold for the first years as a precaution. This is a fast-growing plant. Forest Num-num is wind-resistant and first-class for windy regions as a hedge. The plant is moderately drought-resistant but frost-tender. It is best suited to warmer parts and coastal plains as it is very tolerant of sea breezes.

Carissa bispinosa is a member of the Apocynaceae family the genus Carissa. Carissa bispinosa makes also an attractive popular and a decorative shrub and a garden hedge plant.

Forest Num-num, Carissa bispinosa, Hedgethorn

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