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Jamaica caper-tree
Capparis cynophallophora
Capparaceae


General Landscape Uses:

An accent or specimen shrub or small tree. Also useful in buffer plantings and informal hedges.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

A common element of coastal hammocks and thickets.
Availability:
Widely cultivated. Available in southwest Florida at the All Native Garden Center in Fort Myers, at Native Choice Nursery in Boynton Beach. 561-756-4370 and The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden in Key West, FL. 305-296-1504.
Description:
large shrub or small upright tree with a slender crown composed of short branches. Foliage dense in sun, becoming open in shade. Trunks 2-6 inches in diameter. Bark dark red brown, rough. Leaves smooth and shiny above, rusty beneath, 2-3 inches long.
Dimensions:
Typically 6-12 feet in height, sometimes more. Taller than broad.
Growth Rate:
Slow to moderate.
Range:
Monore County Keys north along the coasta to Brevard, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties; West Indies, Mexico and Central America.
Habitats:
Coastal hammocks.
Soils:
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements:
Moderate to high; grows best with some organic content and may languish in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
High; can tolerate moderate amounts of salt wind without injury.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun to light shade.
Flower Color:
Opens white, turning pink within a few hours.
Flower Characteristics:
Showy, brushlike, 1 1/2" long. Fragrant, mostly so in the evening.
Flowering Season:
Spring-summer; peak in spring.
Fruit:
Brown capsule, 9-12" long, rupturing irregularly with age, exposing the red interior; summer.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides food and cover for wildlife. Larval host plant for Florida white (Appias drusilla) butterflies.
Horticultural Notes:
Grown from seed, which need to be scarified. Start in shade and move to full sun after true leaves are formed. Germination is within a month.
Comments:
This is an excellent plant for coastal gardens.


 


Roger L. Hammer
Keith A. Bradley
Don & Joyce Gann
Roger L. Hammer
Wes Jurgens
George D. Gann
George D. Gann