One of the plant species that can be found growing on Anzac Hill is the Wild Passionfruit. The Wild Passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia) is 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.
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.
Also popular with birds and ants, the fruit is at its best during mid-summer. During cold weather period, the fruit is usually to bitter to eat. Do not bite the seeds, as they are also bitter.
It is often seen as a sprawling prickly shrub that grows up to 2 metres in height and between 1-4 metres in width. The shrub is also the target for the Caper White Butterfly. The larvae of the butterfly feed voraciously on the leaves of the Wild Passionfruit.
The Wild Passionfruit can be found growing around the base of Anzac Hill, Billy Goat Hill, Olive Pink Botanic Garden and often seen growing near rocky hills and riverbeds including the Ross River, Trephina Gorge and the arid regions around Alice Springs.