Distribution: North and Tropical East Africa, Arabia, Israel, Iraq, South Iran and West Pakistan.
Prostrate or scrambling shrubs, sometimes hanging from the rocks, glabrous, glaucous, often fleshy with short crooked branches. Leaves petiolate; blade ovate, broadly elliptic or orbicular, 2-6 cm long, 1.5-6 cm broad, entire, more or less fleshy, drying subcoriaceous; apex entire or slightly emarginate with usually hooked-yellowish brown spine inserted below the apex. Flowers axillary and soli¬tary, asymmetrical, large, usually, white; pedicel stout, 4-5 cm long, increasing up to 8 cm (rarely more) and thickened in fruit. Sepals asymmetrical, posterior one about twice as large as the rest, deeply galeate, upto 4 cm long and 1-1.5 cm broad towards the apex. Petals unequal, not exceeding the largest sepal, posterior pair somewhat hooded and enclosed in the hooded posterior sepal. Stamens many, about 3 cm long. Gynophore 3-4 cm long, increasing up to 6 cm in fruit and becoming stout. Fruits ovoid or ellipsoid, 3-5 cm long, 2-3 cm broad, often reddish and ribbed, many seeded and pulpy.
This is primarily a coastal species preferring rocks and hillocks as its habitat. Sometimes almost spineless plants are found (see Jafri 1553) and may be confused with C. mariana Jacq. (Hort. Schoenbr. 1: 57, t. 109. 1797) or C. spinosa var. mariana (Jacq.) K. Schum. when not in flower. C. mariana is a plant of seashore cliffs from Hawai to New Caledonia (Elffers et al, l.c. 60, and Jacobs, l.c. 420-421), and has short greyish floccose indumentum soon disappearing and the fruits are narrowly ellipsoid with olive-green colour and yellow pulp.