Capparis tomentosa, the woolly caper-bush, is commonly a liane or climber, although sometimes a shrub or small tree (SA Tree List no. 130.1). The showy flowers have yellow-green petals around a mass of white or light pink stamens. The fruits are about spherical, orange or pink, with fleshy pulp surrounding the seeds. Every oblong leaf has a couple of sharp bent spines at the base of its short petiole.
Capparis roots are used in treatment of a wide range of ailments, including rheumatism, snake-bite, insanity, jaundice, malaria, pneumonia and stomach disorders. For some conditions the roots are boiled and an infusion is drank, for others the burnt root is rubbed into the skin, but since there are some concerns of the plant’s toxicity, care should be taken in using it at all!
The tree grows along coastal areas from the Eastern Cape, throughout coastal KwaZulu-Natal and in Mozambique (Van Wyk and Van Wyk, 1997).
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