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Natal Plum 'Tomlinson'

Carissa macrocarpa

Family: Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Carissa (kar-ISS-uh) (Info)
Species: macrocarpa (ma-kro-KAR-pa) (Info)
Cultivar: Tomlinson


Edible Fruits and Nuts


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring




Provides winter interest

This plant is resistant to deer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Scottsdale, Arizona

North Fork, California

Lake Worth, Florida

Houston, Texas

Mcallen, Texas

Richmond, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 6, 2010, Twelve_tribes from Greenacres, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I was walking around my college campus, and I smelled a very sweet smelling fragrance, and found this plant.

I took one of the Fruits, and brought it home, cut it open and took the seeds.

Should I dry them first? and then put them into a ziploc bag? I'd appreciate some help.


On Jul 18, 2009, rntx22 from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I just love this plant!! Every part of it is interesting. The leaves are beautiful; shiny dark green, evergreen, and have a neat shape. The small white flowers smell heavenly!! Reminds me a bit of gardenia or plumeria. I have not yet tried the fruit; right now they have just turned red, and I am waiting for them to ripen a bit more before picking them.

The plant I purchased is from Monrovia; the tag says it is a dwarf variety and is thornless. I have seen that it is not completely thornless, but only has a few small thorns. The fruit starts green and turns red as it matures.


On Jun 4, 2009, coecase from Merritt Island, FL wrote:

I have a Natal Plum grown from seed planted about five years ago. I got the seed from a plum that I ate! The plant is now about 5 feet tall. I have eaten many natal plums -- they have a sticky white glue-like juice, but the flavor is very good. I have many fruits on the plant now (June 4. 2009), some just starting to turn red. I trim many of the thorns to allow me access to the fruit without injury! I plan to try to harvest and dry the fruit when they mature. I'll report success - or failure!


On Aug 6, 2008, azrobin from Scottsdale, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

I agree that this is the dwarf variety and VERY long thorns beneath the leaves. Flowers are fragrant and plant spreads nicely. Does not reseed or send out suckers, etc. Beautiful evergreen. This variety does not set fruit. In my zone 9, it will withstand winters around 30 degrees up to 115 degrees or so. Blooms in summer and spring. I have 5 in my garden.


On Sep 13, 2006, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

this is a dwarf variety and thornless. Leaves are round where the traditional carissa has oval leaves. A popular plant in seacoast gardens.
Aug 2008. transplanted summer 2007 and comparing my first pic with the 2nd pic, it has grown tons! Since we've had milder than usual weather, shrub has not been damaged, but I'm bracing myself for such eventuality. Flowers are indeed fragrant.