Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Capparis lucida (DC.) R.Br. ex Benth.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and flower [not vouchered]. © R.L. Jago
Fruit, side view, cross section and seeds. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Bentham, G. (1863) Flora Australiensis 1: 96.

Common name

Coast Caper


Frequently grows into a small tree, sometimes somewhat scandent but usually flowers and fruits as a shrub 3-4 m tall.


Midrib and lateral veins raised on the upper surface of the leaf blade. Petioles and twigs pubescent. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Leaf blades about 3-10 x 2-5 cm.


Sepals about 9-13 mm long. Outer pair of sepals fused to form a calyptra which splits irregularly. Inner pair of sepals free from one another. Petals about 15-20 mm long. Stamens about 50-85. Gynophore about 25-65 mm long, pubescent at the base.


Fruit globose, about 2.5-5 cm diam., pericarp smooth. Seeds numerous, each about 6 mm long. Cotyledons folded and rolled and located +/- in the centre of the spiralled embryo.


Cotyledons lanceolate, about 22-30 x 11-15 mm, apex acute, base obtuse. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves ovate, stipules straight and spiny, about 4-7 mm long. Stem hairs translucent to white, small and hooked at the apex. Seed germination time 19 to 32 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales. Usually found at low elevations close to sea level. Grows in beach forest but also found in vine thickets and monsoon forest. Also occurs in Malesia.

Capparis lucida (DC.) Benth. f. lucida, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 688(1928). Thilachium lucidum DC., Prodromus 1: 254(1824), Type: Queensland, In insula Booby inter Nov.-Holl. et Nov.-Guineam. Capparis lucida Banks! herb. (v.s. in h. Banks.) Holo: BM?. Busbeckea corymbiflora F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 1: 163(1858), Type: Qld. In insula Lord Howicks Group. [given by M.Jacobs, Blumea 12 (1965) 520 as F. von Mueller s.n. (K, MEL). F. Mueller probably not collector.
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