Carissa carandas L., Mant. Pl. 1: 52 (1767)
Species named after the Indian name of the fruits "karandas".
Arduina carandas (L.) Baill.
Arduina carandas (L.) K. Schum.
Capparis carandas (L.) Burm.f.
Carissa salicina Lam.
Damna-canthus esquirolii H. Leveille
Echites spinosus Burm.f.
Jasminonerium carandas (L.) Kuntze
Jasminonerium salicinum (Lam.) Kuntze
Shrubs, small trees, or climbers to 5 m tall. Spines simple or forked, to 5 cm. Leaf blade broadly
ovate to oblong, 3-7 x 1.5-4 cm, base broadly cuneate to rounded, apex short apiculate; lateral
veins ca. 8 pairs, ascending, convergent, anastomosing near margin. Cymes terminal, usually
3-flowered; peduncle 1.5-2.5 cm; bracteoles minute. Flowers fragrant. Pedicel about as long as
calyx or slightly longer. Sepals 2.5-7 mm, with many basal glands inside. Corolla white or pale
rose; tube to 2 cm, puberulent inside; lobes lanceolate, ca. 1 cm, acute, overlapping to right,
puberulent, ciliate. Ovules numerous in each locule. Berries reddish purple, ellipsoid, 1.5-2.5
x 1-2 cm. [from Flora of China]
It is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant that thrives well in a wide range of soils, up to ca. 1800 m
elevation. It flourishes well in regions with high temperatures.
From Afganistan, India and Sri Lanka into southern China, Indochina and Peninsular Malaysia.
Introduced in many other parts of the tropics.
Cultivated for its edible fruit, which can be eaten raw, made into jelly, or used for pies.
Commonly used as a condiment in Indian pickles and spices. The roots of the plant are heavily
branched, making it valuable for stabilizing eroding slopes. The fruits have been employed
as agents in tanning and dyeing. Karanda leaves have furnished fodder for the tussar silkworm.
A paste of the pounded roots serves as a fly repellent. The white or yellow wood is hard, smooth
and useful for fashioning spoons, combs, household utensils and miscellaneous products of turnery.
It is sometimes burned as fuel. The unripe fruit is used medicinally as an astringent. The ripe
fruit is taken as an antiscorbutic and remedy for biliousness. The leaf decoction is valued in
cases of intermittent fever, diarrhea, oral inflammation and earache. The root is employed as a
bitter stomachic and vermifuge and it is an ingredient in a remedy for itches. The roots contain
salycylic acid and cardiac glycosides causing a slight decrease in blood pressure. Also reported
are carissone; the D-glycoside of B-sitosterol; glucosides of odoroside H; carindone, a terpenoid;
lupeol; ursolic acid and its methyl ester; also carinol, a phenolic lignan. Bark, leaves and fruit
contain an unnamed alkaloid.
China: Ci huang guo.
English: Bengal currant, Christ's thorn.
India: Karonda, karamardaka (Sanskrit), vakkay (Telugu), maha karamba (Sinhala), kilaakkaai (Tamil).
Malaysia: kerenda, karaunda.
Philippines: caramba, caranda, caraunda, perunkila.
Thailand: nam phrom, namdaeng.