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View our range of Alice Springs, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, the Olgas, Kings Canyon and other tours. Many of the tours commence from Alice Springs, Ayers Rock and Darwin.

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Caper Bush
(Capparis spinosa var. nummularia)

Commonly known as 'Bush passionfruit' and the 'Caper Bush', the Capparis spinosa var. nummularia is not a passionfruit of the Passiflora spp. A more appropriate name is the 'native caper' or 'bush caper', as the central Australia species are closely related to the true caper bush.

When you look at the pulp of the fruit, you can see why it was given that common name, unlike the true caper bush, the mature fruit is the valued part of the plant and not the flower buds.

There are about five species here in Australia in the genus Capparis, with the Capparis spinosa var. nummularia considered the best for cultivation.

C. umbonata is regarded by the Aboriginal people in the region as having the best quality fruit, although it is rare, slow growing, has limited fruit production and spiny branches, all negatives for mass cultivation.

Extreme care must be taken when identifying edible food plants and those used in bush medicine. Some bush foods are only edible at different stages of the plant cycle, or when treated appropriately. Bush medicine should only be used under the guidance of a qualified physician. Information here is only provided for research. You should always seek experts in the field to confirm the identification of the plant and whether they are edible or appropriate.

Caper Bush

Olive Pink Botanic Garden, Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Caper Bush (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia)

Caper Bush (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia)

Caper Bush (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia)

© Colin Leel
More information about the Wild Passionfruit can be seen in the Flora of Central Australia.

1 Desert Knowledge CRC - Bush Resources: Opportunities for Aboriginal Enterprise in Central Australia. Report 2, October 2005. PDF. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
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