Spermatophyta: Dicotyledonae: Archichlamydeae: Brassicales

Capparaceae - Caper family

Wild, H. (1960) Capparaceae Flora Zambesiaca 1(1)

Description of the family

Usually woody plants, i.e. shrubs, trees or climbers, less often herbs (Cleome). Stipules 0 or incompletely developed, rarely spiny (Capparis). Leaves alternate, simple or digitately 3-9-foliolate. Inflorescences terminal or axillary. Flowers actinomorphic or zygomorphic, bisexual or unisexual (by abortion), usually 4-merous, hypogynous. Receptacle cup-shaped, funnel-shaped or cylindric, sometimes very short. Sepals 3-4(-5). Petals (0-)4(5,6 or more). Stamens 2-many. In this family there is often a stalk between the sepals and the point of attachment of the stamens (androgynophore) and a further stalk between there and the ovary or fruit (gynophore). Ovary usually 1-locular. Style short or 0. Fruit a capsule or berry, variously shaped.

Comment: The members of this family (excluding Cleome) are particularly common at lower altitudes and also on termite mounds at higher altitudes.

Cleome is sometimes placed in a separate family, Cleomaceae.

Worldwide: 39 genera and 650 species, mostly warm areas with a few in arid temperate zones.

Mozambique: 8 genera and 52 taxa.

Insects associated with this family:

Belenois creona (African common white)
Capparis erythrocarpos var. rosea

Links to genera:     View: living plant images - herbarium specimen images - all images for this family

Boscia Lam.Description, Image
Cadaba Forssk.Description
Capparis L.Description, Image
Cladostemon A. Braun & VatkeDescription, Image
Cleome L.Description, Image
Maerua Forssk.Description, Image
Ritchiea R.Br. ex G. DonDescription, Image
Thilachium Lour.Description, Image

Other sources of information about Capparaceae:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Capparaceae
Flora of Caprivi: Capparaceae
Flora of Malawi: Capparaceae
Flora of Zambia: Capparaceae
Flora of Zimbabwe: Capparaceae
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Capparaceae

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Capparaceae
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Capparaceae
Wikipedia: Capparaceae

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave 2007-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Mozambique: Family page: Capparaceae.
https://www.mozambiqueflora.com/speciesdata/family.php?family_id=48, retrieved 1 April 2023

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