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A picture of a Forest Num-Num

Forest Num-Num

Carissa bispinosa

Also known as

Red Num-Num, Fork-Spined Carissa, Y-Thorn Carissa, Lemoenbessie, Lemoendoring, Noem-Noembessie, Isibethankunzi, Isabetha

Carissa bispinosa Uniondale 1168 by JonRichfield (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a strong fragrance

More images of Forest Num-Num

A photo of Forest Num-Num
A photo of Forest Num-Num
A photo of Forest Num-Num
A photo of Forest Num-Num
A photo of Forest Num-Num

Forest Num-Num Overview

This tree-like shrub is found in most parts of South Africa, but grows particularly well in coastal areas. It is a beautiful ornamental garden feature as it bares pleasantly sweet smelling white flowers. The small red berries can be eaten raw and fresh or used to make deliciously sweet jellies and jams. Beware of the large thorns that are carried on the ends of the branches. This is a common feature plant. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Western Cape.

Common problems with Forest Num-Num

Scale or fungus may become present if the plants are grown in shade.

    How to harvest Forest Num-Num

    Harvest edible berries from Autumn to Spring.

    How to propagate Forest Num-Num


    Sow seeds during autumn months


    Special features of Forest Num-Num

    Drought resistant

    Can survive some periods of time with little watering.

    Attracts useful insects

    Butterflies and honeybees feed off of the nectar that is produced by the flowers.

    Hedge plant

    Often used as a hedge as the shrubs are quite wind resistant.

    Attracts birds

    Some birds may be attracted by the nectar that is produced by the flowers.

    Attracts butterflies

    Attractive flowers

    Wind break

    Attracts bees

    Other uses of Forest Num-Num


    Indiginous people use the plant's roots to treat tooth decay.


    The entire berry including skin, flesh and seed are edible. Berries can be eaten raw or used to make jams and jellies.

    Other uses