Wild Passionfruit

Olive Pink Botanic Garden

Located in the heart of Australia in Alice Springs, the Olive Pink Botanic Garden offers the visitor a great place to view the native flora, set against the back drop of the hills and ranges. Founded in 1956 as the Australian arid regions flora reserve, the garden was established by the extraordinary Miss Olive Muriel Pink (1884-1975).

The garden is a living breathing thing, responding to climatic changes such as rainfall that often brings on the appearance of flowers and through the changes in temperature brought on by the cycle of the seasons.

The Wild Passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia), known locally as the ‘caper bush’, is also known as ‘Merne arrutnenge’ in the Arrernte language of the local Aborigines. It is also one of the many bush tucker foods, prized for the sweet tasting fruit, when ripe.

The sprawling prickly bush can grow up to 2 metres in height, and is recognised by the white flower on a stem. The flower has 4 white petals, 4 sepals and numerous long white stamens. The tip of the central stalk that protrudes above the stamens contains the ovary and is where the fruit develops. As the flower dies, the flower changes to a pink colour. The fruit develops and swells into an oval shape of about 4 cm long. The fruit ripens from green to yellow, opening to reveal a deep orange-yellow pith with large black seeds. The fruit is at its best during the warm months, about mid-summer. During cold weather period, the fruit is usually to bitter to eat. Do not bite the seeds, as they are also bitter.

The fruit is popular with birds and ants. The shrub is also favoured by the Caper White Butterfly, with the larvae of the butterfly feeding voraciously on the leaves of the caper bush.

Wild Passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia), Olive Pink Botanic Garden.
Wild Passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia), Olive Pink Botanic Garden.
Wild Passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia), Olive Pink Botanic Garden.
Caper fruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia), Olive Pink Botanic Garden.
Wild Passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia), Olive Pink Botanic Garden.
Wild Passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia), Olive Pink Botanic Garden.

Olive Pink Botanic Garden | Aboriginal Tradition | Crimson Fox Tail | Wild Passionfruit | Bat’s Wing Coral Tree