Shrubs or small trees, with white
latex and with simple or forked spines. Branches
repeatedly dichotomously branched. Stipules 0. Leaves opposite.
Flowers in terminal corymbs or 1-5-flowered cymes. Calyx lobes imbricate,
free to base. Corolla salver-shaped; tube cylindric; lobes
contorted, overlapping either to left or right. Stamens inserted
at middle or towards top of corolla tube; anthers subsessile,
glabrous. Ovary with 2 carpels, with 1-4 or rarely many ovules
per loculus. Fruit an ellipsoid or ovoid berry. Seeds
discoid or flattened-ellipsoid, velutinous.
Comment: In the paper Series of revisions of Apocynaceae XLIX. Carissa L., Leeuwenberg & Van Dilst (2001), the authors make various changes to taxa of Carissa occurring in the Flora Zambesiaca region. They sink Carissa edulis, and many other Carissa species, under C. spinarum L., sink C. praetermissa under C. macrocarpa and combine C. bispinosa subsp. bispinosa and C. bispinosa subsp. zambesiensis under C. bispinosa. We feel that this approach lumps too many entities together and have retained the treatment in FZ 7(1).
Worldwide: 37 species in the warm Old World, eastwards to Australia and New Caledonia
Zimbabwe: 4 taxa.Insects associated with this genus: