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Karanda   
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Karanda
ative elliptic Photo: Tabish
Common name: Karanda • Hindi: Karonda करौंदा • Kannada: ಕವಳಿ ಹೂವು Kavali hoovu, ಕವಳಿಕಾಯಿ Kavalikai • Malayalam: Karakka • Telugu: Peddakalavi • Marathi: karvand • Tamil: களா Kalakkai
Botanical name: Carissa carandas      Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)
Synonyms: Arduina carandas, Echites spinosus, Jasminonerium carandas

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 stalk, are 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.
Medicinal uses: Its fruit is used in the ancient Indian herbal system of medicine, Ayurvedic, to treat acidity, indigestion, fresh and infected wounds, skin diseases, urinary disorders and diabetic ulcer,[8] as well as biliousness, stomach pain, constipation, anemia, skin conditions. The roots serve as a stomachic, an anthelmintic medicine for itches and also as insect repellents.

Identification credit: Neelima Kale, Navendu Pagé, Nandan Kalbag Photographed in Delhi.

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