Carissa carandas is a species of flowering shrub in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. It produces berry-sized fruits that are commonly used as a condiment in Indian pickles and spices. It is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant that thrives well in a wide range of soils. Common names include "crane berry" (English), karonda (Devanagari: करोंदा), karamardaka (Sanskrit), kauLi hannu/ಕೌಳಿ ಹಣ್ಣು (Kannada), kali maina/कालि मैना (Marathi), vakkay (Telugu), maha karamba/මහ කරඹ (sinhala), kilaakkaai/கிளாக்காய் (Tamil). Other names less widely used include: karau(n)da, karanda, or karamda. It is called kerenda in Malaya, karaunda in Malaya and India; Bengal currant or Christ's thorn in South India; nam phrom, or namdaeng in Thailand; and caramba, caranda, caraunda and perunkila in the Philippines. In Assam it is called Karja tenga. In Bengali it is called as Koromcha.
Carissa carandas grows naturally in the Himalayas at elevations of 300 to 1800 meters, in the Siwalik Hills, the Western Ghats and in Nepal and Afghanistan. It flourishes well in regions with high temperatures. In India it is grown on a limited scale in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. It is also grows in the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests.
The plant is grown from seed sown in August and September. Vegetative propagation also is practiced in the form of budding and inarching. Cuttings may also succeed. The first monsoon shower is planting time. Plants raised from seed start bearing two years after planting. Flowering starts in March and in Northern India the fruit ripens from July to September.
Isolation of many terpenoids has been reported. In particular mixture of sesquiterpenes namely carissone  and carindone as a novel type of C31 terpenoid have been reported. Other products include pentacyclic triterpenoid carissin.
Mature fruit is harvested for pickles. It contains pectin and accordingly is a useful ingredient in jelly, jam, syrup and chutney. Ripe fruits exude a white latex when severed from the branch.
The roots of the plant are heavily branched, making it valuable for stabilizing eroding slopes.
It has medicinal value too, it is taken for urine-related problems.
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- Lim TK. Edible Medicinal and Non-Medicinal Plants; Volume 1, Fruits Springer Berlin; 2012. p. 240–245.
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- V Devmurari, P Shivanand, MB Goyani, S Vaghani, NP Jivani. Carissa Congesta: Phytochemical constituents, traditional use and pharmacological properties 2009; 3: 375-377.
- J. Reisch, R. Hussain, B. Krebs, M. Dartmann. The structure of carissone. Monatshefte fuer Chemie 121(11): 941-4 (1990).
- B. Singh, R.P. Rastogi . The structure of carindone. Phytochemistry, 11(5):1797-801 (1972).
- Siddiqui BS, Ghani U, Ali ST, Usmani SB, Begum S. Triterpenoidal constituents of the leaves of Carissa carandas. Natural Product Research. 2003; 17:153-8.
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