(Capparis spinosa var. nummularia)
Passionfruit also known locally as the ‘caperbush’ is a member of the Caper
family. It is also known as ‘Merne arrutnenge’ in the Arrernte language of the
local Aborigines and is one of the many bush tucker foods.
There are said to be 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.
Recognised by the
white flower on a long stem, they have 4 white petals, 4 sepals and numerous
long white stamens. The tip of the central stalk that protrudes above the
stamens contains the ovary. This is where fruit develops. As the flower dies it
changes into a pink colour. As the fruit develops, it swells into an oval fruit
of about 4 cm long. The fruit ripens from green to yellow, opening to reveal a
deep orange-yellow pith with large black seeds.