Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Capparis mitchellii

Large, unusual flower of Capparis mitchellii

Family: Capparaceae

Common name: Native Orange

Flowers and fruit: At first sight, the flower of Capparis mitchellii appears to consist of nothing more than a mass of stamens up to 70mm long, but it has cream petals that recurve when mature. Fruit is up to 80mm diameter, green maturing to a dull yellow, with rough exterior texture and stiff, irregular stalk. The fruit is reported to be edible - I tasted it but didn't find it particularly pleasing. Despite it's common name, it is not related to citrus. Flowering in summer.

Leaves: Leaves are alternate, soft and grey/green, and up to about 60mm long.

Habit and habitat: Capparis mitchellii is a shrub 3 to 4 meters high, often scrambling and untidy. Grows mostly as individuals in dry woodland.
Flower emerging, and dangling fruit

Growth habit of Capparis mitchellii

Interior of a mature fruit, soft flesh and numerous seeds

Leaves of Capparis mitchellii

Flowers and leaves of Capparis mitchellii

Habit and habitat of Capparis mitchellii in The Pilliga