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.

Local names
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.