Scientific name 
Capparis decidua1 (Forssk.) Edgew

Capparis tomentosa2

Family name

Local name(s)
Injet, Maluza, Yomonoxe (Amargna) = C. decidua?; Gumero(Amargna) = C. tomentosa

General description 3
(1)C. decidua: A climbing shrub with vine-like branches hanging in bundles. The bark is greeish-yellow and smooth. The thorns are paired, pale brown, straight or hooked and to 0.5cm. There are only leaves on young shoots that are small and narrow and soon fall off. Leaves only appear during short rains. Flowers are pink-red, single or in threes beside leaves and about 1cm across. Flowers appear at the beginning of the dry season. Fruits are red and rounded, about 1cm across, black when ripe and dry.
(2)C. tomentosa: A thorny shrub to 3m or a climber reaching 10m. Thorns are small and curved back in pairs beside the leaves. Leaves are long and oval to 3 - 9cm, grey-green, thick and leathery on a short stalk that may be hairy below and slightly pink. Flowers can be 5cm across with very many white stamens, 4 small petals and 4 sepals. The ovary is on a stalk. Flowers are usually in groups. The fruits hang down on long stalks to 5cm and are rounded 1- 5cm across. They are shiny orange-red and become black when dry, persisting on the bush.

Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
(1)C. decidua: Fruits are edible. The skin of the fruit has to be removed and the flesh can be eaten. Everybody collects and eats the fruits.
(2)C. tomentosa: The fruits are said to be mixed with garlic and roots of Adathoda schimperi to form a juice which is believed to ward off the evil.

Nutritional value
C. decidua fruit is of high nutritional value. The edible fruits are rich in protein and minerals and have a high seed fat content. Seed contents 20% oil, 1.7% sugar and 8.6% protein4.

(1)C. decidua: A plant of very arid regions of the Sahara, the Sudan, East and South Africa, Arabia to India. Sometimes in dense stands, it prefers loamy clay and is very drought resistant. Grows in lowland areas, e.g. the Tekeze River lowlands, sea level to 1,200m.
(2)C. tometosa: A shrub widespread in tropical Africa from the Sahel to Ethiopia, East Africa to South Africa, occurring in semi-arid and humid lowland, highland woodlands, forest edges and scrub in dry and moist low- and midlands, 1,200 - 2,300m.

Propagation method(s)
Propagates by seedlings, wildlings and cuttings.

Sample location(s)
Siska Kebele, Zequala Woreda (Wag Hamra)

(1)C. decidua: The leaves of the tree are eaten by goats, sheep, cattle and camels. The Amharic name of the tree means ‘stick of a monk’. 
(2)C. tomentosa: Further uses are for firewood, live fence and fencing in general. The species may become a serious weed unless controlled. The roots can be very poisonous.


1Parts of the description have been taken from Bein et al., 1996 et al., 1993: p. 114/115
2Parts of the description have been taken from Bekele-Tesemma et al., 1993: p. 128/129
3The reason why the two species are described together is that we are not sure of the species on the pictures.
Rai et al., 1987 & Chauhan et al., 1986 in Scoones et al., 1992 The Hidden Harvest: p. 127 & p. 138

Back to top


Injet’ fruits on a tree

‘Injet’ tree in the Tekeze River lowlands of Wag Hamra 

'Injet’ fruits 
 (Photo by Anna Barnett, Ethiopian Venture Project)