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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 503. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
Contributor Text: S.M.H. Jafri
General/Distribution: About 250 species in the tropics and subtropics of both the hemispheres, half of which are American. Hutchison (Gen. Fl. Pl. 2: 307. 1968) has split it into more than one genus, putting particular emphasis on the aestivation of calyx.
Comment/Acknowledgements: Of the 6 species reported from the present area, 3 belong to C. spinosa complex, one is widely distributed in the desert areas, and the occurrence of two in wild conditions is doubtful.


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Shrubs, often climbing or sprawling, rarely small trees, glabrescent or hairy (mostly the young twigs) with simple to stellate hairs. Leaves simple, usually with a pair of stipular, often recurved, spines. Flowers often showy, hermaphrodite, solitary, racemose, corymbose or umbellate, axillary or terminal rarely supra axillary; bracts mostly present but early caducous. Sepals 4(-5), free or nearly so, often unequal, imbricate, sometimes the adaxial sepal more or less deeply saccate, inner pair of sepals always free, flattish. Petals 4(-5), imbricate, rather delicate, mostly obovate, usually caducous after anthesis, often unequal; receptacle (torus) flattish with a small adaxial disk; androphore absent; Stamens (5-) 20-indefinite, radiating, exceeding the petals, glabrous, inserted on the torus at the base of the gynophore. Gynophore generally as long as the stamens, not or hardly increasing in fruit but often thickened. Ovary globose or cylindrical, usually 1-locular with 2-8 (-10) placentas and few to many ovules; stigma sessile, mostly obscure. Fruit baccate on a more or less thickened stipe, with pericarp leathery or corky, rarely dehiscing, (perhaps due to pressure in herbarium press), generally globose to ellipsoid; seeds 1- many, embedded in pulp, obliquely reniform.

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1 Fruits ellipsoid; flowers solitary in the upper leaf-axils (2)
+ Fruits more or less globose; flowers supra axillary, (1-3) or many in corymbs or umbels (4)
2 (1) Posterior sepal deeply galeate; sepals conspicuously unequal (3)
+ Posterior sepal not deeply galeate sepals more or less equal Capparis spinosa
3 (2) Plants glabrous, glaucous; leaves fleshy, cartilaginous Capparis cartilaginea
+ Plants more or less densely hairy (often tomentose); leaves not fleshy Capparis himalayensis
4 (1) Flowers in corymbose, ebracteate racemes or umbels, many; plants glabrous or minutely hairy (5)
+ Flowers supra axillary, 1-3; plants pubescent with Scarlet-brown branched hairs Capparis zeylanica
5 (4) Plants leafy; leaves ovate or elliptic, persistent; flowers in umbels, apical on leafy branches Capparis sepiaria
+ Plants apparently leafless; leaves when present, small linear, deciduous; flowers in corymbose racemes or fascicles on short lateral branches Capparis decidua
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