Malabar Caper
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Malabar Caper
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Malabar Caper
Botanical name: Capparis rheedei    Family: Capparaceae (Caper family)
Synonyms: Capparis baducca, Capparis malabaria, Capparis heyneana,

Malabar Caper is a caper found in the Western Ghats. It is named after Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede (1636-1691, off the coast of Bombay), a Dutch traveller and naturalist. He worked for the Dutch East India Company to write the Hortus Malabaricus a compendium of the plants of economic value in the south Indian Malabar region. Malabar Caper is an erect shrub, 2-4 m tall. Branches are brown velvety but later smooth; shoots are armed with short, straight spines. Leaves are elliptic-ovate to lance-like, with a narrow tip. Flowers are white, bluish winged, sometimes lilac, showy, 3-5 cm across, mostly occuring singly in leaf axils, rarely in a much condensed raceme. Sepals are elliptic, 11-15 x 6-8 mm, densely covered with fines hairs. The four petals are obovate, 1-2 x 0.8-1 cm. The upper pair of petals have a yellowish blotch near throat - this can be treated as an identifying feature for this species. Stamens are over 80, densely packed. Fruits oblong to ovoid-fusiform, faintly ribbed, beaked, 2.5-3 cm.

Identification credit: Shrikant Ingalhalikar Photographed near Castlerock, Karnataka.

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