The Beautiful & Unique
Jamaican Caper Plant
by Rosemarie Gordon-Cole
‘Perfect’ is one of the words used to describe this unique plant. It is unique in that it has all the components needed to
fertilize its own pollens!
This is possible as the Jamaican Caper is one of the few plants with both male and female components.
And with a little help from the wind, insects, animals or even us humans the J'can Caper is able to do its thing ensuring that its species will always be around.
A 3 – 10 inches brown pod appears after fertilization takes place and this is normally seen between July and September.
When mature these pods are deep red and split open to show the seeds surrounded by a thick sticky substance which is a favorite with the birds.
Capparis Cynophallophora is the scientific name given to it. The origin of this tree like shrub is unknown
but can be found in the following areas:
- South America
- Central America
- Parts of Mexico
- The Caribbean
This salt and drought tolerant plant is perfect for hedging. The mature plant is approximately 6 - 30 feet tall, very thick and has a pyramidal shape which makes it the perfect plant to use for blocking
out that view you have been dying to hide. They can however be trimmed to stay at 4 to 5 feet tall.
Here are some additional characteristics of the JamaicanCaper:
- Multicolored leaves, green on top with a hairy brown beneath
- loves full sun or partial shade
- ideal for sandy or limestone soils
- Orchid-like flowers opens only in the evening and turns lavender when hit with the morning sun. Blooms last for only 24 hrs.
- Flowers give off a sweet fragrance in the evenings. Flowering normally happens between April and July.
If you are not able to get a seedling from under a parent tree you can try any of the two methods below.
The ideal spot to start seedlings is a compost heap. The compost heap has the right temperature and moisture that make it
the perfect environment for germination to take place. Within two to three weeks you should start seeing the emergence of saplings. Transplant when the plant is hardy enough to move.
If this is your choice of propagation it is best to cut from the base of the stems, which would leave you with buds and smaller stems. Even though this is a drought tolerant plant, in-order for the cutting to catch they will need to be watered at least once a day.
See Also: Jamaican Flowers
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A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.
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