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Capparis tomentosa


Water Needs

low; moderate; water wise

Capparis tomentosa
Climber; Shrub large
Woolly Caper Bush

7 m – 15 m spread


Light Conditions

sun; semi-shade




white-cream; spring; summer; September; October

Garden Situation

sun; semi-shade; sandy soils; security; shrubbery; fast-growing easy-care; trellis pergola; wildlife bees insects butterflies birds monkeys


desert; woodland forest; water; Coastal Eastern Cape; Coastal KZN; rocky places


Thicket; Subtropical East Coast; Bushveld savanna; Highveld

Rain Season


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This is an excellent choice to provide boundary security and offer wildlife food and refuge, and is in fact, grown as a security hedge in many rural areas. The Woolly Caper Bush is a large spiny shrub with a scrambling habit, a canopy climber with attractive orange fruits and flowers for birds, butterflies and other insects, certainly, one for a garden with sufficient space for its long, fast-growing limbs. Fresh new flowers open in the morning but fade through the afternoon. Fruits follow from December to March. The Capparis is a favourite of landscaper, Jenny Dean. In her September 2016 article, she wrote, “Capparis tomentosa (Woolly caper bush) pushes its powder puff blooms through its thorny thicket in September. And what a joy they are. I love finding them in early spring knowing that the flowers will be followed by orange fruits much loved by birds and monkeys. What a pleasure to feed the monkeys naturally. Capparis is exceptionally good for butterflies being the host plant to many butterflies. The butterflies are beautiful – white, yellow, veined with fascinating names like African Small White, Black-veined White, Spillers Sulphur Yellow, Forest White and False Dotted Border, Bushveld Orange Tip, Queen Purple Tip and there are more. One needs space to grow Capparis – thorny and robust; it can cover a 15m span in a few years. Mine tumbles over a fence, forming a perfect barrier and supplying wonderful nesting opportunities for birds”. Plants grow on ant hills in deciduous bushlands and woodland savannas.

Capparis tomentosa
Capparis tomentosa
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