Cynophalla flexuosa

(Linnaeus) J. Presl in F. Berchtold and J. S. Presl

in F. Berchtold and J. S. Presl, Prir. Rostlin 2: 275. 1825

Common names: Bay-leaved caper-tree limber-caper mimbre del monte
Synonyms: Capparis brevisiliqua de CandolleCapparis flexuosa (Linnaeus) Linnaeus
Basionyms: Morisonia flexuosa Linnaeus
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 7. Treatment on page 197.
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Plants 2–4 m. Stems ± terete, usually glabrous or glabrescent, rarely puberulent. Leaves: petiole 4–10 mm; blade 3–7(–9) × 2–4(–5) cm, coriaceous, base narrowly cuneate to rounded, apex emarginate, round, or acute, abaxial surface usually glabrescent, adaxial surface glabrous. Inflorescences (1–)2–6 cm. Pedicels 7–12 mm, (densely felted). Flowers nocturnal, fragrant; sepals orbiculate, decussate, proximal pair 5–7 × 10–12 mm, distal pair 3.5–5 × 1–1.5 mm, falling before anthesis, glabrous; petals white, becoming yellowish or reddish white, oblong-obovate, (10–)15–20 × 12 mm; stamens 40–60(–120) mm; gynophore 4–6(–8) cm. Capsules reddish brown to yellowish, irregularly constricted between seeds, 5–15(–28) × 9–13(–17) mm, seeds in 1 or 2 rows. Seeds green, 7–14 mm, covered with oily, white pulp. 2n = 16.

Phenology: Flowering spring–late summer.
Habitat: Coastal thickets, hummocks, marl flats
Elevation: 0-10 m


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Fla., Mexico, West Indies, Central America, n South America.


Cynophalla flexuosa is wide-ranging and polymorphic; Floridian plants are sometimes recognized as subsp. flexuosa. Some South American plants are distinguished as subsp. polyantha (Triana & Planchon) H. H. Iltis.



Lower Taxa

No lower taxa listed.