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Capparis Linn.


Description from Flora of China

Shrubs, small trees, or vines, evergreen, erect, climbing, or sometimes prostrate. New branches often with branched or simple trichomes, glabrescent or sometimes with persistent trichomes; branchlet base sometimes with subulate scales (cataphylls). Stipular spines straight or curved, sometimes absent. Leaves alternate, spirally arranged or distichous [or secund], simple, petiolate or sometimes subsessile; leaf blade herbaceous to leathery, margin entire. Inflorescences superaxillary, axillary, or terminal, racemes, corymbs, umbels, or panicles, sometimes reduced to a single flower but usually 2-10-flowered; bract usually present at base of pedicels but often caducous. Sepals 4, in 2 whorls; sepals of outer whorl often thick, often inwardly concave or becoming navicular, covering other flower parts, sometimes basal one becoming saccate; sepals of inner whorl often thin, ± equal. Petals 4, imbricate, often 2 pairs roughly similar; anterior pair of petals distinct, clawless or sometimes clawed; posterior pair of petals with lateral margins adhering, base asymmetric, margin revolute or rarely inner lateral margin involute from base to near middle, base fully covering disk; petals sometimes all 4 ± equal, distinct. Stamens 7-120. Gynophore ± as long as filaments, scarcely lengthening in fruit but often becoming thicker, sclerified; ovary 1-loculed; placentae 2-6(-8); ovules few to many; style short or obsolete; stigma sessile. Fruit baccate, globose or ellipsoid, often with different color when mature or dry, usually not dehiscent. Seeds 1 to numerous per fruit, reniform to nearly polygonal; embryo bent.

Between 250 and 400 species: mostly in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide but some in temperate regions; 37 species (ten endemic) in China.

Lower Taxa


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