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Scale bar 10mm. Copyright CSIRO
Vine stem transverse section. Copyright CSIRO
Capparis ornans F.Muell. ex Benth.
Bentham, G. (1863) Flora Australiensis 1: 95. Type: Queensland, Port Denison, E. Fitzalan; holo: K; iso: MEL.
Busbeckea ornans F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 156(1866), Type: ?.
Caper; Caper, Showy; Showy Caper
Usually grows into a large tree-top vine but can also flower and fruit as a shrub. Vine stem diameters to 14 cm recorded. Outer bark finely fissured. A clear exudate may emerge from the pith. Heartwood brown.
Stipules are recurved thorns about 1-3 mm long (or longer) which assist in climbing. Not present at every leaf. Leaf blades about 6-14 x 2-6.5 cm, petioles about 0.6-1.7 cm long. Lateral veins about 8-20 on each side of the midrib, forming loops inside the blade margin. Oil dots often elongated. Apex of the leaf blade ends in a thickened sharp point quite capable of penetrating the skin.
Flowers strongly perfumed. Sepals about 2.5-3.5 cm long. Outer pair of sepals fused to form a calyptra which splits irregularly. Inner pair of sepals free from one another. Petals about 4.5 cm long, dimorphic, two long and two shorter. Stamens about 80, filaments about 8-10 cm long, anthers about 0.2 cm long. Gynophore about 6.5-10 cm long.
Fruits globose to ovoid, about 6-10.5 x 3.5-6 cm, surface usually textured in a rather random fashion. Stalk (gynophore) about 9-10 cm long. Seeds numerous, embedded in pulp. Seeds about 9-12 mm long. Embryo tightly coiled with the cotyledons in the centre.
Cotyledons stipulate, ovate or elliptic, about 30-43 x 14-21 mm, petioles about 1.5-2 mm long. Cataphylls usually 1 or 2 before the first pair of true leaves, stipules spinescent. First pair of true leaves elliptic, apex aristate or pungent pointed, base obtuse, leaf blades smaller than the cotyledons, stipules needle-like, about 5-9 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elliptic, apex aristate, base shallowly cordate. Stipules are straight spines about 7-12 mm long. Petioles and stem densely clothed in short pale hairs.
Distribution and Ecology
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)