Carrissa bispinosaFlowers of the Num-num (Carrissa bispinosa)Num-num (Carrissa bispinosa) is ideal for hedges due to its hard wood and thorns.Num-num fruitEver-green leaves of the Num-num (Carrissa bispinosa)

Family: Apocynaceae

Scientific Name: Carrisa bispinosa

Common names: Num-num

SANTN: 905 ( Zim)

Description: A shrub, sometimes scrambling, or a small tree up to 5 m high. Widely spread across Southern Africa due to active cultivation. The flowers is white to pinkish. The fruit is ovoid, fleshy and about 1,6 cm long. The fruit turns a bright red when mature, edible and very delicious, with a sweet-sour taste.

Medical uses: The root are used all over Africa as a chest and cough medicine. The ground up root are used to treat venereal disease like gonorrhoea and are also used as an aphrodisiac. The root can be chewed to relief tooth ache, and boils can also be treated with a decoction of the root bark.

Superstition uses: None known.

Nutritive uses: High in Vitamin C, Calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Can be cooked into a jam, but taste just as good raw. The fruit can be fermented to produce a very pleasant pinkish wine, if fermented longer, vinegar can be made.

Other uses: Being a attractive, hardy ever-green shrub with thorns, often planted and cultivated as a hedge in many towns in Southern Africa.

Credits: Christian Fourie.