CapparidaceaeCaper family

  - Leaves alternate, simple (rarely trifoliolate), entire.
  - With stipules (often small and obscure)..
  - Petioles uniform length and leaves in a plane or
  - Petioles of variable length and leaves spiraled.
  - Flowers 4-parted with stalked ovary, numerous stamens.
  - Fruit a bean-like pod, dehiscing with arillate seeds, rarely thick and indehiscent with edible pulp.

Diagnosis: Herbs, trees, or treelets with stipules often obscure. 1. Leaves simple, alternate, entire, distichous, petioles uniform in length., often with silvery peltate scales 2. Leaves spiraled, petioles variable in length, swollen at base and tip. 3. Leaves alternate, compound with 3 leaflets, often mixed with simple leaves.

Local distribution: Widespread, but most diverse in seasonally dry forest on the Pacific slope.

Similar families
Araliaceae: leaves usually 3-veined at the base and crenate.
Caricaceae: milky latex.
Fabaceae: green bean odor, spines, stipules.
Sapindaceae: leaflets serrate.

Diversity: Total: 4 genera, 11 species. Trees: 2 genera, 9 species.

Comments: Most species have nocturnal flowers pollinated by moths or bats.

Credits: Images and text copyright 2000-2007, William A. Haber,