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A caper the size of a tree!

February 23, 2011

Many foreign visitors to Dokmai Garden have often wondered about a hedge which until now has been naked for a few months.

This hedge is composed of Crateva magna (Capparidaceae). In nature it grows into a tall tree which we demonstrate on our garden & jungle tour, but at Dokmai Garden we keep it small. We planted it as food for a larva of a large beautiful butterfly with orange wingtips (Hebomoia glaucippe), and to display something different from most hotels and resorts. Interestingly, this is a relative of the Mediterranean Capparis spinosa, the edible caper. Young leaves, flowers and buds are edible, and can be pickled, like the buds of the Mediterranean caper. When tasted raw, there is not much of flavour, a faint mustard oil in the background, but an interesting addition to any jungle salad.

Ketsanee Seehamongkol

Crateva magna, now in blossom at Dokmai Garden, Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.

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