Carunda – a vanishing edible berry of Southeast Asia
Carissa carandas (Apocynaceae) has edible red berries. It is not commonly found in the Thai gardens anymore, which is sad, as it is both a beautiful native ornamental, with its red young shoots and its characteristic armour of three thorns, and a source of beautiful and tasty berries. It can be used as a hedge, and thrives if supported with water. It belongs to a family of plants which normally has many toxic members, so Carunda is an exception.
As in many other cases, it has relatives around the Indian Ocean. The more famous African cousin, the Natal Plum, or Carissa macrocarpa, is edible too.
The berries are ripening at Dokmai Garden now, so if you wish to try something different, come and visit us!