Common name: Karanda • Hindi: Karonda करौंदा • Malayalam: Karakka • Telugu: Peddakalavi • Marathi: karvand • Tamil: களா Kalakkai
Botanical name: Carissa carandas Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)
Synonyms: Carissa congesta
The karanda is a sprawling semi-vine shrub native to India.
Leaves are from one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half inches long, very dark green,
shiny and opposite and they have large spines like many other Carissas. If the
leaves or stems are injured, the white milky sap is seen, which is
characteristic of this group of plants.
Although carissa karanda can be kept clipped into a shrub, it really prefers
to act much like a vine similar to bougainvillea and will climb to the tops of
rather tall trees. Small fragrant three-quarter-inch white flowers, with rose
produced from early spring through late fall and the clusters of small
purplish to black fruit ripen from May through October. Fruit size is
variable, but most fruits are about three-quarters of an inch in diameter with
a few seeds. Fruits usually occur in clusters somewhat resembling large purple
grapes. Fruit quality is excellent in this author's opinion, somewhat
resembling that of a blueberry in flavor. Fruits can be eaten fresh or used
for jellies or jam.
Identification credit: Neelima Kale, Navendu Pagé, Nandan Kalbag