Capparis

From The Plant Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
"Capparis" is also a family name, see e.g. Melpomene Capparis.

Upload an image
Maiapilo (Capparis sandwichiana)

Loading slideshow...

Capparis

Category
Kingdom Plantae
Division
Class
Order Brassicales
Family Capparaceae
Species in this genus
Add a species

Please enter the plant name in this format: 'Latin name - Common Name'

Aden Earth Zone

-

Cultivation

Characteristics

About

Capparis is a flowering plant genus in the family Capparaceae which is included in the Brassicaceae in the unrevised APG II system. These plants are shrubs or lianas and are collectively known as caper shrubs or caperbushes. Capparis species occur over a wide range of habitat in the subtropical and tropical zones.

Uses and ecology

File:Kapern.jpg
The well-known caper is a pickled flower bud of Capparis spinosa.

Caperbushes are mainly used by humans for their fruit, which are rich in micronutrients. C. spinosa, simply known as caper, yields fruit and more importantly flower buds, which are widely used pickled as a vegetable condiment. The fruit of other species, such as karir (C. decidua), are also used for cooking; C. mitchellii and the Wild passionfruit (the local subspecies of C. spinosa) are well-known bush tucker in Australia. Mabinlang seeds (C. masaikai) are eaten as sweets.

Mabinlang is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Aspalathos, the root of a shrub contained for example in the sacred Ancient Egyptian incense kp.t (kyphi), is sometimes considered to be C. spinosa. Other species have also recorded uses in herbalism and folk medicine; dedicated research is largely lacking however. Mabinlins are sweet-tasting proteins found in Mabinlang seed (and possibly in other Capparis species); at least one of them is highly resistant to heat. The market for mabinlins is presently not large, but this is mainly due to insufficient supply rather than to lack of demand.

Caperbushes from arid regions - chiefly C. decidua - are highly useful in landscape gardening, afforestation and reforestation. They can stop soil erosion and preserve agricultural land. Any large-flowered species can be used to attract butterflies. The Crimson Rose (Atrophaneura hector), a spectacular swallowtail butterfly of South Asia, likes to visit flowers of C. spinosa in the winter months for example.

File:Capparis fruit.JPG
Many birds eat ripe Capparis spinosa fruit and seeds.

The fruit and seeds of caperbushes are relished by many birds and other animals such as spiny-tailed lizards. Capparis plants are highly important as food for certain Lepidoptera caterpillars, many of them Colotini or Pierini:

The plant pathogenic ascomycete fungus Mycosphaerella capparis was described from a caperbush. Some species of Capparis are becoming rare, mainly due to habitat destruction, and a few are seriously threatened with extinction.

Selected species

File:Capparis micracantha Blanco1.178.png
Drawing of Capparis micracantha, showing its parts. Francisco Manuel Blanco, Flora de Filipinas, etc (1880-1883)
File:Capparis sepiaria Blanco1.209.png
Drawing of Capparis "sepiaria", showing its parts. Francisco Manuel Blanco, Flora de Filipinas, etc (1880-1883)

Formerly placed here

See also

Footnotes

Unknown extension tag "references"

References

Retrieved from "http://theplantencyclopedia.org/wiki/Capparis"
Personal tools
Namespaces
Variants
Actions