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Carissa lanceolata (Conkerberry)

Carissa lanceolata, better known as the Conkerberry,  is a small spreading and prickely shrub that can grow up 3m. The flowers are small, white and hava a lovely scent, the leaves are bright green and the fruit is green changing to a bluish-black when ripe. You can find Conkerberry plants near creeks, out on open flood plains, on cliff faces and in rocky patches. Kimberley Aborignal people burn the wood of this plant to repel mosquitoes,

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1. Susan Allport - April 16, 2013

I am excited to read that this plant wood could be good for repeling mosquitoes when the wood is burned. do you know if this plant would grow in Mozambique? the people in this country cook their meals using wood fires, they suffer with Malaria.

broomegirl - May 6, 2013

Hi Susan, the conkerberry (Carissa lancelota) probably would grow in Mozambique – but it’s not something we’d recommend! Just like introduced plants here in Australia, Australian natives grown in other parts of the world, for gardens/science/altruism can often get out of control. While it is unlikely this shrub would become a weed elsewhere, you just never know until proper testing by Quaratnine and Agriculture or Environmental authorities. There’s a number of native plants in Australia which can be burned to repel mozzies, such as sandalwood, or even various green leaves to create a smoke. In a place as diverse as Africa, there are bound to be native plants which can be used similarly, and of course there are issues with deforestation for such basic needs as fires to cook food for the family. Solving malaria and other major health problems needs plenty of good minds on the job. Best wishes.

2. Christina - October 7, 2013

Actually, there are Carissa’s found throughout southern africa and they are native. Carissa bispinosa is native to Mozambique. I have them growing in my garden in Zimbabwe. They are a semi hard wood and grow extremely slowly here.

3. Aaron Paterson - January 20, 2016

Some further info on the Conkerberry is Aboriginal (Mayi Yapi tribe from middle Cloncurry river, Canobie station, Lower Guf of Carpentaria, Queensland) native name of this plant Is Kanggaparri (Carissa brownii, F. v. M.). Widely known as Conkerberry. A prickly branching shrub, 5-6 feet high; Fruit a reddish small drupe, oblong, an inch long; grows in great quantities after the wet season on pebbly ridges on the Cloncurry river in February. Gathered in quantities and eaten raw; quite sweet.


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