Capparis cartilaginea is a small, scrubby tree which grows by spreading or ‘scrambling’ over rocks. It has long, hairless stems which are typically bent and twisted, with white-grey or yellowish-green bark, coated in a waxy or powdery bloom. The oval-shaped leaves of Capparis cartilaginea are broad and fleshy, often ending in a hooked, yellowish-brown spine below the pointed tip. During the flowering period, Capparis cartilaginea produces large, attractive white flowers which possess many erect stamens and unequally shaped petals, two of which are fused and slightly hooded, fitting into a helmet-shaped sepal(2)(3)(4).
Capparis cartilaginea is a perennial species that usually flowers around February and March (5). It produces rounded, ribbed, red-coloured fruits packed with numerous small seeds, which are eaten and dispersed by birds (3)(4)(7).
The fruits of Capparis cartilaginea can be dried and pickled in vinegar, or preserved in salt to produce capers for consumption (8).
Rivera, D., Friis, I., Inocencio, C., Obón, C., Alcaraz, F. and Reales, A. (2003) The typification of Capparis inermis Forssk., C. sinaica Veill. and C. cartilaginea Decne. (Capparaceae). Taxon, 52: 307-311.
Fawzi, N.M. (2008) An Introduction in the Flora of the United Arab Emirates. Faculty of Science, Biology Department, National Herbarium, United Arab Emirates.
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