It is a small much branched tree or shrub of arid regions in Africa, Middle East and southern Asia, including the Thar desert. It bears a mass of slender, leafless branches, the small caducous leaves being found only on young shoots. It rarely exceeds a height of 5 meters.
The new flush of leaves appears in November–January. Red conspicuous flowers appear in March to April and August–September and ripe by May and October. The pink fleshy berries are readily eaten by birds. It coppices well and produces root suckers freely. It is extremely drought-resistant and tolerates some frost. Uses
This is a useful plant in its marginal habitat. Its spicy fruits are used for preparing vegetables, curry and fine pickles and can attract helpful insectivores; the plant also is used in folk medicine and herbalism. Capparis decidua can be used in landscape gardening, afforestation and reforestation in semidesert and desert areas; it provides assistance against soil erosion. Karir tree in Mahabharata
Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 174: Pandvas journey twelfth year of their sojourn in forests having arrived reach Saraswati River: Shloka 23 mentions trees:
- पलक्षाक्ष रौहीतक वेतसाश च; सनुहा बथर्यः खथिराः शिरीषाः
- बिल्वेङ्गुथाः पीलु शमी करीराः; सरस्वती तीररुहा बभूवुः
- The holy fig, the rudaraksha, the rohitaka, the cane and the jujube, the catechu, the sirisha, the bel and the inguda and the karira and pilu and sami trees grew on the banks of the Saraswati.
- शमी पीलु करीराणां वनेषु सुखवर्त्मसु (śamī pīlu karīrāṇāṃ vaneṣu sukhavartmasu)
- अपूपान सक्तु पिण्डीश च खाथन्तॊ मदितान्विताः (apūpān saktu piṇḍīś ca khādanto mathitānvitāḥ) (VIII.30.24)
- Meaning - "When shall I be amongst those ladies eating cakes of flour and meat and balls of pounded barley mixed with skimmed milk, in the forests, having many pleasant paths of Sami and Pilu and Karira!" (VIII.30.24)
- ततः परायाथ बलॊ राजन पूज्यमानॊ थविजातिभिः
- सरस्वती तीर्दवरं नानाथ्विज गणायुतम (IX.36.57)
- बथरेङ्गुथ काश्मर्य पलक्षाश्वत्द विभीतकैः
- पनसैश च पलाशैश च करीरैः पीलुभिस तदा (IX.36.58)
- Vala, O king, then set out from that foremost of all tirthas on the Sarasvati (Sapta-Saraswat). Numerous feathery creatures have their home there. And it abounded with Vadari, Inguda, Ksamarya, Plaksha, Aswattha, Vibhitaka, Kakkola, Palasa, Karira, Pilu, and diverse other kinds of trees that grow on the banks of the Sarasvati. And it was adorned with forest of Karushakas, Vilwas, and Amratakas, and Atimuktas and Kashandas and Parijatas.
|Sanskrit name of plant (Devanagari)||Botanical name||Indian names||Indian epic||Parvaa||Shloka||Location in epics||Present Habitat|
|Karira (करीर)||Capparis decidua||-||Mahabharata||Vana Parva||III.174.23||Dvaita Forest, Kurukshetra Sarasvati River||Arid regions in Africa, Middle East and southern Asia, including the Thar desert.|
|Karira (करीर)||Capparis decidua||_||Mahabharata||Drona Parva||VII.153.24||Kurukshetra|
|Karira (करीर)||Capparis decidua||-||Mahabharata||Karna Parva||VIII.30.24||Kurujangala|
|Karira (करीर)||Capparis decidua||kerda, kair, karir, kirir, karril||Mahabharata||Shalya Parva||IX.36.58||Sarasvati River|