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Cassinopsis ilicifolia

English: Lemon-thorn; Afrikaans: Lemoentjiedoring

Cassinopsis ilicifolia - The lemon thorn is an evergreen, scrambling shrub that can grow up to four metres high and four metres wide. The young stems are a glossy green while the older branches are brownish to pale grey in colour. Branches are slender, have a trailing habit and grow in a zigzag pattern. Sharp, narrow, green spines occur on the stems. The leaves are glossy, bright green above and dull green below. Small, star-shaped, white to cream coloured flowers, 2mm in diameter, occur in branched clusters opposite the spines (Sep-Nov). The fruits are fleshy, bright orange, slightly flattened, smooth & glossy (Feb-May).
The ripe fruit are edible but do not always have a good taste or flavour. The bright, glossy, green foliage, orange fruits and the drooping habit of the stems make this a very attractive plant which can be utilised as a specimen plant in the middle of a lawn or in a small townhouse garden. The plant can also be trained to form a neat compact hedge. It can effectively be used as a decorative outdoor pot plant. It does not have an aggressive root system and can be used close to paved areas, buildings and other structures without causing any damage. The lemon thorn is often utilised in shrubberies and on the borders of gardens and forests. Its dense growth habit makes it an ideal plant to use as a screen (e.g. to screen wind, provide privacy, screen objectionable views). It can also be used to direct traffic when planted on either side of a pathway or drive. Due to the sharp spines and dense growth habit this plant would make an excellent security barrier or hedge to keep unwanted people or animals out of a particular area. The plant can tolerate drought and frost and can be grown in either sun or shade.

- Cassinopsis ilicifolia

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