Capparis tomentosa Lam.

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Capparis tomentosa

Photo: Rob Burrett

Capparis tomentosa

Photo: Rob Burrett

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Common names: Chikatavuwa (Shona) Gonashindi (Shona) Mukorongwe (Tonga: Zimbabwe) Umkanyengwe (Ndebele) Woolly caper-bush (English)
Frequency: Frequent
Status: Native
Mostly a robust woody climber but occasionally a shrub or small tree, armed with sharp, paired, hooked thorns. All young parts are densely velvety. Leaves alternate, oblong to broadly elliptic, grey-green, covered in velvet hairs; margins entire. Flowers quite showy, yellowish-green with a mass of long white or pinkish stamens. Fruit large, up to 4 cm, pink to orange when ripe. The fruits hang from a long stalk-like branch called a gynophore.
Notes: The species is much used in traditional medicine.
Derivation of specific name: tomentosa: tomentose, densely woolly
Habitat: In woodland at lower altitudes, sometimes a liane; occurring at higher altitudes on termite mounds
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 1380 m
Flowering time:Aug - Nov
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in tropical Africa and South Africa
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
Growth form(s): Climber, liane, shrub over 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Saturday 21 January 2006

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Page 91.

Pickering, H. & Roe, E. (2009). Wild Flowers of the Victoria Falls Area Helen Pickering, London Page 47. (Includes a picture).


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Other sources of information about Capparis tomentosa:

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Flora of Caprivi: Capparis tomentosa
Flora of Mozambique: Capparis tomentosa
Flora of Zambia: Capparis tomentosa

External websites:

African Plant Database: Capparis tomentosa
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Capparis tomentosa
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Capparis tomentosa
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Capparis tomentosa
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Capparis tomentosa
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Capparis tomentosa
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Capparis tomentosa
Ispot Southern Africa : Capparis tomentosa
JSTOR Plant Science: Capparis tomentosa
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Capparis tomentosa
Tropicos: Capparis tomentosa
West African Plants database: Capparis tomentosa

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-15

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2015). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Capparis tomentosa., retrieved 28 March 2015

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