Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Capparis arborea (F.Muell.) Maiden

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and flower. © A. Ford & F. Goulter
Flower [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves and flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Maiden, J.H. (1904) Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 28: 696.

Common name

Pomegranate, Native; Native Pomegranate; Wild Lime; Wild Pomegranate; Brush Caper Berry; Wild Orange; Berry, Brush Caper; Caper; Lemon, Wild; Lime, Wild; Pomegranate, Wild; Wild Lemon; ORANGE, WILD; Caper Tree


Growth habit half way between that of a tree and a vine. Outer blaze and/or the subrhytidome layer orange or orange-brown. Blaze odour somewhat unpleasant. Spines may be present on some branches.


Midrib and main lateral veins depressed or flush or raised on the upper surface. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Leaf blades about 5-15 x 2-6 cm. Petioles pubescent. Twig pith pink or reddish.


Sepals in two whorls, the outer pair about 15 x 12 mm, inner sepals about 12 x 6 mm. Petals about 13-31 x 10-15 mm, margins lacinate. Stamens about 50-100 per flower, filaments 30 mm or longer. Gynophore glabrous, about 20-60 mm long. Ovary about 3.5-4 mm long, placentas 4 with numerous ovules on each placenta.


Fruits about 2-5 cm diam. on a long slender stalk. Seeds about 7 mm long.


Cotyledons lanceolate, about 20-27 x 8-10 mm, apex acute, base obtuse. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves lanceolate, aristate at the apex; stipules long and spinescent, one on each side of the petiole. Seed germination time 20 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in CYP (?), NEQ, CEQ and southwards to coastal central New South Wales. Altitudinal range from sea level to 600 m. Grows in monsoon forest and beach forest.

Natural History & Notes

Food plant for the larval stages of the White Caper and Common Pearl White Butterflies. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

Capparis nobilis var. arborea (F.Muell.) Domin, Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 23 : 201(1926). Busbeckea arborea F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 1: 163(1858), Type: Ad flumen Fitz Roy River, Thozet; ad sinum Moreton Bay. Hill et Mueller.  Capparis sp. Forty Mile Scrub (B.Hyland 3883RFK), [Temporary Phrase Name].
RFK Code
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