Capparis zeylanica (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Capparis zeylanica L.

Protologue: Sp. pl. ed. 2: 720 (1762).
Family: Capparidaceae


  • Capparis horrida L.f. (1781).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: melada (general)
  • Philippines: halubagat-baging (Tagalog), tarabtab (Ilokano), baralauik (Ibanag)
  • Burma: nah-ma-nee-tanyet
  • Cambodia: rôôk sââ
  • Thailand: sa ae (south-western), yieo kai (eastern), thao lang maakkep (northern)
  • Vietnam: cáp tích lan, gai den


Sri Lanka, India, Burma, Thailand, Indo-China, Hainan, the Philippines, Indonesia (Java, Sulawesi, Lesser Sunda Islands).


The fruit has edible pulp of poor flavour, but is found pickled in India. In Burma (Myanmar) and the Philippines, leaves are employed as a counter-irritant, as a cataplasm in boils and swellings, to reduce perspiration and to improve the appetite.


  • A climbing shrub, 2-5(-10) m tall with zigzag branches, pubescence tawny to brownish red.
  • Leaves ovate to elliptical, 4-10(-18) cm × 3-6(-9) cm, base acute or obtuse, tip acute, leathery, petiole 0.5-1.5 cm long, thorns 3-6 mm long, recurved.
  • Flowers 2-5 in a row, rarely solitary, before the leaves on young twigs, pedicel stout, 1-2 cm long, sepals concave, 1 cm long, hairy, petals 0.9-1.6 cm long, thin, white to pinkish, inner side later darker, pinkish to red; stamens 30-50, filaments 2.5-3.5 cm long, pink, later turning dark purple; gynophore 2.5-4.5 cm, pubescent only towards the base.
  • Fruit a globular to ellipsoid berry, up to 5 cm × 4 cm, on 5 cm-long gynophore; skin woody-coriaceous, red to purple.
  • Seeds numerous, embedded in fleshy pulp.

C. zeylanica occurs in hedges, brushwood, savannas, forest borders, at low and medium altitudes, under seasonal climatic conditions.

Selected sources

  • Brown, W.H., 19511957. Useful plants of the Philippines. Reprint of the 19411943 ed. 3 Volumes. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Technical Bulletin 10. Bureau of Printing, Manila, the Philippines.
  • Quisumbing, E., 1978. Medicinal plants of the Philippines. Katha Publishing Co., Quezon City. 1262 pp.
  • van Steenis, C.G.G.J. et al. (Editors), 1950-. Flora Malesiana. Series 1. Vol. 1, 4-10. Centre for Research and Development in Biology, Bogor, Indonesia, and Rijksherbarium, Leiden, the Netherlands. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Boston, London.

74, 106,

  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1948-1976. The wealth of India: a dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. 11 volumes. Publications and Information Directorate, New Delhi, India.245. medicinals


  • P.C.M. Jansen, J. Jukema, L.P.A. Oyen, T.G. van Lingen
  • F.I. Windadri