Maria Sibylla Merian, Unidentifiable caper, Plate 44
Maria Sibylla Merian
Unidentifiable caper, Plate 44
From Dissertatio de Generatione et Metamorphosibus Insectorum Surinamensium
Published: Amsterdam, J. Oosterwyk, 1719
Framed size: approx. 24 x 31"
The eight hundred or so very varied species of caper are distributed through the tropics and subtropical lands. The variety shown here is a tall tree of Surinam, other varieties growing as shrubs and bushes. The carpels and stamens are frequently duplicated, enhancing the splendor of the blossom. The red seeds in the quadrivalve, prickly fruits were used by the Indians to make dyestuffs. They soaked the red grains in water, and the red coloring matter was deposited. They also used the coloring the body. Merian found the caterpillars of the owlet moth (Notuidae gen. spec.) and the skipper (Pyrrhopyge latefasciata) feeding on the tree.
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