Carissa spinarum—Currant Bush—APOCYNACEAE

Carissa spinarum

Link to Images on Flickr.

Habitat— In Subtropical and Dry Rainforest; also in Vine Thickets.

Distribution— North from Lismore on the coast and inland from Narrabri and west to Carnarvon National Park in New South Wales and into North East Queensland. Also occurs in Western Australia

Description—Shrub or scrambling climber to 6 meters tall

Local occurrences

Raintrees Diamond Beach and The North Coast Regional Botanic Gardens Coffs Harbour

Leaves.—Simple, opposite, entire with axillary spines and milky latex exuding from petioles and branchlets when broken. Stipular spines straight (sometimes forked) about 6 to 25 mm long, usually present on most twigs between the points of attachment of the petioles. Leaf blades variable in size, broad–ovate about 5 to 55 by 4 to 40 mm, petioles up to 3 mm long. Small dark glands about 1 mm long usually visible on the twigs between the bases of the petioles. Lateral veins difficult to distinguish, about three or four on each side of the midrib.

Carissa spinarum
Carissa spinarum

Inflorescence.— White, fragrant, about 4-5 mm diam. Outer surface of the calyx and corolla clothed in pale erect hairs. Sepals about 2.5-3 mm long. Corolla tube about 7-9 mm long, inner surface clothed in pale erect hairs, lobes about 2-4 mm long. Anthers about 1.6-1.8 x 0.5-0.6 mm, filaments about 0.1-0.2 mm long. Ovary hairy, at least towards the apex, lower style and stigma hairy. Stigma swollen but 2-lobed at the apex.

Flowering.—Throughout the year

Fruit.— An ovoid to obovoid berry, about 10 to 22 by 7 to 14 mm. Flesh red. Seeds flat or slightly concave on one side with a central scar and convex or domed on the other. Testa finely reticulate on the outer surface. Cotyledons about as long as the radicle but much wider.

Ripe.—Throughout the year

Carissa spinarum