Page 3 - CAPPARIS_2006
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124                                      Annals of the
                                                   Missouri Botanical Garden

          C. orientalis and C. sicula and overlap with C.  C. parviflora, C. sicula). The Sudano-Zambezian
          orientalis. The other two species, C. aegyptia and C.  Region (Paleotropical) is inhabited by three species
          ovata, are morphologically distinct, characterized by  in tropical East Africa, littoral Arabia, western India,
          their habit, stipules, and leaves (C. aegyptia: shrubs  and southern Pakistan (C. mucronifolia, C. parviflora,
          somewhat erect; twigs gray-green or blue-green with  C. sicula). The African Karoo-Namib and Indian
          waxy cover; stipules curved, retrorse; leaves obovate  regions are inhabited by one single species each (C.
          to ovate, bases and apices rounded, 2–3 3 1.8–3 cm;  hereroensis and C. sicula, respectively). Capparis
          C. ovata: shrub pendulous; adult leaves ovate,  sicula is the most widespread species, stretching from
          texture subcoriaceous; stipules curved, mostly an-  the Western Mediterranean to the Himalayan Moun-
          trorse).                                 tains and the Rajasthan of India (Indian Region,
            The objective of the present revision is to provide  Paleotropical). Capparis hereroensis, in western Na-
          a general taxonomy, based fundamentally on morpho-  mibia, is the only species confined to the African
          logical data for Capparis sect. Capparis.  Karoo-Namib Region (sensu Takhtajan, 1986). En-
                                                   demic taxa are infrequent in this section, although C.
                                                   atlantica is endemic to the Atlas range in Morocco, C.
                                                   mucronifolia Boiss. subsp. rosanoviana (B. Fedtsch.)
            Capparis belongs to the subfamily Capparoideae  Inocencio, D. Rivera, Obo ´n & Alcaraz is endemic to
          (Capparaceae), that also includes Cadaba, Crataeva,  central Tajikistan, and C. parviflora Boiss. subsp.
          Morisonia, Boscia, and other New World and Old  sphaerocarpa Inocencio, D. Rivera, Obo ´n & Alcaraz is
          World genera (Hall et al., 2002). The different genera  endemic to the western provinces (Nimruz, Farah,
          overlap in molecular studies (Hall et al., 2002),  Herat) in Afghanistan.
          although a marked biogeographical distinction is
          found between New World and Old World groups,  ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE
          recognized at the level of section or subsection
          (Candolle, 1824; Bentham & Hooker, 1862; Hall  Species of Capparis sect. Capparis are widely used
          et al., 2002). A tentative infrageneric division is  as food and medicine in the Old World. Capparis
          presented in Table 1 in order to contextualize  spinosa is almost exclusively known in cultivation.
          Capparis sect. Capparis. There are many unresolved  The supposed wild individuals of C. spinosa are often
          taxonomic and nomenclatural issues for infrastructure  remnants of ancient caper fields or escaped from
          in Capparis. Therefore taxa in Table 1 are merely  cultivation. Local caper cultivars and ethnovarieties
          presented as a synthesis of major groups.  are recognized throughout the Western and central
                                                   Mediterranean region (Spain, France, Italy, continen-
                                                   tal and insular). These principally belong to C.
                                                   spinosa, but also to C. orientalis (Rivera et al., 1999,
            Capparis is mostly a Pantropical genus, but section  2003b). Flower buds, consumed as brined product, are
          Capparis is almost strictly Holarctic with six exclusive  a rich source of the antioxidant phenolic compound
          species (C. aegyptia, C. atlantica Inocencio, D.  rutin (Inocencio et al., 2000). The use of Capparis
          Rivera, Obo ´n & Alcaraz, sp. nov., C. orientalis, C.  species by humans has been traced to the Prehistory
          ovata, C. spinosa, C. zoharyi Inocencio, D. Rivera,  and early historic times of Western Europe (1st–2nd
          Obo ´n & Alcaraz, sp. nov.), one paleotropical species  cent. A.D., Tongeren, Belgium), the Mediterranean
          (C. hereroensis Schinz), and three in holarctic and  region (9000–7400 B.C., Franchti Cave, Greece), and
          paleotropical areas (C. mucronifolia, C. parviflora  West Asia (9th–8th mill. B.C., Tell Mureybit, Syria),
          Boiss., C. sicula). Here we name the floristic  as evidenced by the presence of these species in
          categories (kingdoms and regions) according to  archaeological sites (Rivera et al., 2002).
          Takhtajan (1986). Capparis sect. Capparis has its
          maximum diversity in the Mediterranean Region  MATERIAL AND METHODS
          (Holarctic) with seven species (C. aegyptia, C.
          atlantica, C. orientalis, C. ovata, C. spinosa, C.  The herbaria and libraries of the following institu-
          zoharyi, C. sicula). It is followed next by the Saharo-  tions were consulted: BM, E, JEPS, K, MA, MUB,
          Arabian Region (also Holarctic) with six species in  OXF, P, RSA, and UMH. Specimens on loan were
          North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (C. aegyptia,  received from BISH, BR C, G, HUB, HUJ, MARSSJ,
          C. ovata, C. zoharyi, C. mucronifolia, C. parviflora, C.  RNG, and US. Special collection trips were conducted
          sicula). The Irano-Turanian Region (Holarctic) is  in North Africa, western Asia, and Mediterranean
          inhabited by four species extending along most of  Spain to obtain fresh material for molecular studies,
          West and Central Asia (C. aegyptia, C. mucronifolia,  for the in vivo study of floral characters, and for
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