The main distribution of Carissa ovata is along the east coast from Cairns to north-eastern NSW; with a disjunct population in the Kimberley region, Western Australia [42, 44, 67]. It occurs in microphyll vine thickets and vine forest in a variety of soils derived from volcanic parent material . A highly variable species [42, 43], however, this variation is considered continuous with no clear distinctions . Although not formally recognised the following observations on variation in leaf shape and plant form has been noted (P.I. Forster, Queensland Herbarium, pers. comm.):
- Plants from inland areas tend to have smaller leaves, which can be often pubescent (cf. Bailey's var. pubescens) ;
- Plants from coastal vineforests and vine thickets tend to form large sprawling shrubs or small trees, whereas those from inland localities, particularly in disturbed or regrowth areas, form small bushes which often have resprouted a number of times (cf. Bailey's var. stolonifera) .
The National Herbarium of New South Wales recognises two forms:
- C. ovata f. large-leaved in rainforest on the coast north from Lismore
- and C. ovata f. small-leaved in the woodland and scrub in western districts north from Narrabri district . T
The Australian Plant Census denotes that C. ovata is now regarded as Carissa spinarum, although this species is still recognised as C. ovata in NSW, QLD and WA [43, 44, 45].
Flowering and seeds
Plants flower and fruit throughout the year . For best germination results, sow fresh , with germination occurring after 3 months .
Cultivation and uses
The plant provides a very good low shelter and as such is of high wildlife value . The fruit is reputed to be edible [42, 67].
Mean annual rainfall: 450-1700 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer
Mean annual temperature: 14-27 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 28-37 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 1-17 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C)
Altitude: 0-750 metres
Tolerance of climate extremes
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Wind: tolerates salt-laden coastal winds
Texture: clay loam, duplex texture contrast soils, loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm) or 2. moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Salinity: slightly to moderately saline
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen shrub less than 2 m tall
Shade tolerance: tolerates partial shade
 Carr D (1997) Plants in Your Pants: a pocket guide for the identification and use of the common plants of the northwest slopes. Greening Australia NSW, Armidale.
 Flora of Australia (1982 to 2007) Volumes 2 to 47, CSIRO Publishing and the Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra.
 National Herbarium of New South Wales (2008) PlantNET - Flora of New South Wales. (Online resource) http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/floraonline.htm (Accessed: February 2008).
 Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Environment and Conservation (2008) FloraBase: the Western Australian flora. (Online resource) http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/ (Accessed: February 2008).
 Bostock P, Holland A (2007) Census of the Queensland Flora 2007. Queensland Herbarium, Brisbane.
 Forster PI (1999) A taxonomic revision of Carissa (Apocynaceae) in Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 5, 581-91.
 Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network (2007) Brisbane Rainforest Plants database. (Online resource) http://www.brisrain.webcentral.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=9 (Accessed: February 2008).
PlantNet NSW Flora Online – species description & distribution: