These prickly little climbers are having an unusually good flowering season this year. Lots of plants are in flower, and there are still plenty of buds to go, so they should continue to look beautiful for some weeks.
The plants are quite unpleasantly prickly, and their long-term future is by no means secure. This is not a plant that gardeners are likely to save from extinction by planting it in their gardens, despite its beauty.
Orphan plants like this remind us how important it is to preserve what scraps are left of their natural environment.
Scrambling capers are plants of semi-evergreen vine thickets on red soil, and would once have been very common in the Toowoomba district. Franke Scrub is one of the rare remaining examples of this ecosystem type, which (in its redsoil form) is classified as endangered.
There are several other local species of native caper (see article Dec08 for more about the others).
Two of them grow in Franke Scrub, as well, and are likely to flower soon too.
If you haven’t yet been out to see Franke Scrub, next Wednesday (30 Sep) would be a good time. Members of the Friends of Franke Scrub will be there in the morning, working away. See article below for directions to get to this spot, which is just 3 minutes from central Highfields - which is only 10 or 15 minutes from central Toowoomba.