Travancore Caper
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Travancore Caper
P Native Unknown Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Travancore Caper
Botanical name: Capparis diversifolia    Family: Capparaceae (Caper family)

Travancore Caper is an erect shrub, about 2 m tall, with floppy, hairy branches, early becoming hairless. Thorns are few, straight or slightly curved, 2-2.5 mm long. Leaves are of two forms, linear-oblong or oblong-lanceshaped to elliptic-ovate, pointed to rounded at base, pointed with a sharp point at tip, 2.5-9 x 0.3-3.5 cm. Lateral nerves are 5-7 pairs; leaf-stalks 2-6 mm long. Flowers are showy, reddish purple to violet, 3.5-4.5 cm across, borne in 3-8 flowered clusters. Flower-stalks are 6-8 mm long, finely velvet-hairy but early becoming hairless. Sepals are nearly equal, ovate, 7-8 x 3.5-4 cm, minutely finely velvet-hairy outside, densely woolly inside. Petals are ovate or obovate, nearly equal, 1.8-2 x 0.6-0.9 cm, hairless but woolly at base. Stamens are 40-60, prominent and showy, longer than pistil. Gynophore is bent, 5-9 mm long, up to 1.1 cm in fruit. Ovary is spindle-shaped, about 6 cm long (including beak), smooth, hairless, often abortive; placentae 4. Fruits are ovoid or ellipsoid, apiculate, 3-3.5 x about 2 cm, smooth; seeds 8-10, 6.5-7 x about 6 mm; stalks thin. Travancore Caper is endemic to Southern Western Ghats. Flowering: April-December.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu.

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