Wild Plants of Pakistan








A densely branched, spinous shrub or tree, up to 5 m (rarely more) high, leaves only on young twigs, commonly known as Karir or Karil in Sindhi / Urdu whereas, Caper-berry / Leafless Caper-Bush in English. It is one of the common shrubs of arid plains of Sindh, Baluchistan & Punjab, distributed in N. and Tropical Africa, Arabia, eastwards to India, flowers brick red to orange-red, flowering abundantly during the hot weather.

The plant usually grows in dry, exposed habitat, often on foothills, in wastelands; it is reported to be suitable for soils affected with saline irrigation water, and for stabilizing sand dunes. It can be used in landscape gardening, afforestation and reforestation in semi-desert and desert areas; it also provides assistance against soil erosion. The plant coppices well and produce root-suckers freely. The flower-buds and the unripe fruits are prickled, and also cooked and eaten as vegetable. They form an integral part of the diet of people in desert and semi-desert areas of the country. The protein content and mineral constituents of the fruits of Capparis decidua are comparatively much higher than common fruits like banana, grapes, guava and mango, and hence, they can be profitably utilized, especially in dry regions.

Fruits are reported to be a good source of nutrients for desert animals. The fleshy fruits are eaten by birds. The young twigs serve as a fodder for camels and goats. The wood is light yellow to pale brown, smooth, moderately hard and heavy and resistant to termites. It is suitable for making small beams, rafters, knees of boats, for oil mills, tool-handles, cart-wheels and axles, and to a small extent in making combs. A paste of the coal from the burnt wood is applied for muscular injuries. The wood also serves as a fuel. The plant is used for making huts and fences. It can also serve as wind-break especially in dry localities.

The fruits are astringent, and useful in cardiac troubles and biliousness. The root and bark contain 28 and 31 percent protein, respectively. The bark is anthelmintic and useful in cough, asthma and inflammations. The tender leaves are applied as a poultice on boils and swellings. They are chewed to relieve toothache. The stem bark is acrid, laxative and diaphoretic. It is given in remittent fevers and rheumatism. The decoction of aerial parts is reported to be given to animals for stomach disturbances.