Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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R. Sundara Raghavan

Herbs, shrubs or trees. Leaves alternate, subopposite or rarely opposite, occasionally crowded on abbreviated shoots, simple or digitately 1-several foliolate, rarely poorly developed and caducous, entire, penninerved; stipules 1 - 2, setaceous or spinescent. Inflorescence axillary or terminal, racemose, corymbose or paniculate, sometimes flowers solitary or in fascicles on short shoots. Flowers bisexual (rarely unisexual and plants dioecious), actinomorphic to slightly zygomorphic, pedicellate, bracteate; receptacle cupular, infundibuliform, campanulate or cylindric with entire, undulate or fimbriate margin; disc various or absent. Sepals 4, sometimes 6 or reduced to 3, biseriate, free or connate below, equal or unequal, valvate or imbricate. Petals 4 (rarely 0, 2 or 8), sessile or clawed. Stamens 4-many, usually borne on a short or elongated androphore; filaments free, sometimes coherent at base or adherent to gynophore; anthers dithecous, basifixed, longitudinally dehiscing. Ovary superior, sessile or supported by a short or long gynophore, unilocular (or by spurious dissipiments divided into 2 or more loculi); ovules few to many, on 2 - 6 parietal placentae, if trilocular then with axile placentation; style short or absent, if present simple or split into 3 arms; stigma simple or capitate. Fruits capsular or baccate and of various shapes, oblong-cylindrical, sometimes torulose or lobed, 1-many-seeded; seeds orbicular to reniform, embedded in pulp or free; endosperm none or scanty; embryo arcuate or incurved; cotyledons folded or convolute.

America, S. Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, mostly in tropical and subtropical regions; ca 48 genera and 700 species, 7 genera and 55 species in India.

Literature. DANIEL, M. & S. D. SABNIS (1977) Chemotaxonomical studies on Capparidaceae & Cleomaceae. Curr. Sci. 46(14): 472 - 474. HEDGE, IAN C. & J. LAMMOND (1970) Capparidaceae. In: K. H. Rechinger, Fl. Iranica 68: 1 - 32. JACOBS, M. (1960) C8pparaceae. In: van Steenis, Fl. Males. I, 6(1): 61 - 105, ff. 1 - 33. JAFRI, S. M. H. (1973) Capparidaceae. In: Fl. West Pakistan 34: 1 - 35, ff. 1 - 9. MITRA, K. (1978) Contribution to the pollen morphology of the family Capparaceae. Bull. Bot. Surv. India 17: 7 - 31. 1975.

Notes. Steriphoma Spreng., a native of America, is occasionally cultivated in gardens.


1a. Herbs or woody undershrubs with non-baccate fruits 2
b. Shrubs or trees with baccate fruits 3
2a. Herbs; fruits siliqua with 4 or more seeds 3. Cleome
b. Undershrubs, woody; fruits dry, indehiscent, winged nutlets, 1 (or rarely 2)-seeded 5. Dipterygium
3a. Sepals 6; ovary 3-loculed, with axile placentation 7. Stixis
b. Sepals 4 (3); ovary mostly unilocular, rarely by false dissipiments, 2 or more locular, with parietal placentation 4
4a. Sepals fused, forming a distinct tube 6. Maerua
b. Sepals mostly free, rarely slightly connate at base, but never forming a tube 5
5a. Disc large, tubular, trumpet-shaped, petaloid; stamens 4 - 6, inserted halfway on gynophore 1. Cadaba
b. Disc otherwise; stamens numerous, at any rate more than 8, inserted at base of gynophore 6
6a. Shrubs with simple leaves 2. Capparis
b. Trees with trifoliolate leaves 4. Crateva

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