Capparis uncinata Edgew.
Prostrate or scrambling shrubs, sometimes hanging from the rocks, glabrous, glaucous, often fleshy with short crooked branches. Leaves petiolate; blade ovate, broadly elliptic or orbicular, 2-6 cm long, 1.5-6 cm broad, entire, more or less fleshy, drying subcoriaceous; apex entire or slightly emarginate with usually hooked-yellowish brown spine inserted below the apex. Flowers axillary and soli¬tary, asymmetrical, large, usually, white; pedicel stout, 4-5 cm long, increasing up to 8 cm (rarely more) and thickened in fruit. Sepals asymmetrical, posterior one about twice as large as the rest, deeply galeate, upto 4 cm long and 1-1.5 cm broad towards the apex. Petals unequal, not exceeding the largest sepal, posterior pair somewhat hooded and enclosed in the hooded posterior sepal. Stamens many, about 3 cm long. Gynophore 3-4 cm long, increasing up to 6 cm in fruit and becoming stout. Fruits ovoid or ellipsoid, 3-5 cm long, 2-3 cm broad, often reddish and ribbed, many seeded and pulpy.
Type: Egypt, Sinai desert, Bove 148 (P, K).
Distribution: North and Tropical East Africa, Arabia, Israel, Iraq, South Iran and West Pakistan.
This is primarily a coastal species preferring rocks and hillocks as its habitat. Sometimes almost spineless plants are found (see Jafri 1553) and may be confused with C. mariana Jacq. (Hort. Schoenbr. 1: 57, t. 109. 1797) or C. spinosa var. mariana (Jacq.) K. Schum. when not in flower. C. mariana is a plant of seashore cliffs from Hawai to New Caledonia (Elffers et al, l.c. 60, and Jacobs, l.c. 420-421), and has short greyish floccose indumentum soon disappearing and the fruits are narrowly ellipsoid with olive-green colour and yellow pulp.