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Useful Temperate Plants

Capparis spinosa spinosa

.

Capparaceae

+ Synonyms

Capparis atlantica Inocencio

Capparis herbacea Willd.

Capparis ovata herbacea (Willd.) Zohary

Capparis ovata M.Bieb.

Capparis herbacea microphylla Ledeb.

Capparis ovata microphylla (Ledeb.) Zohary

Capparis leucophylla microphylla (Ledeb.) Täckholm

Capparis rosanowiana B.Fedtsch

Capparis parviflora Boiss.

Capparis leucophylla parviflora (Boiss.) Zohary

Capparis murrayana Graham

Capparis mucronifolia Boiss.

Capparis elliptica maskatensis Hausskn. & Bornm. ex Bornm.

Capparis aegyptia Lam.

Capparis sinaica Veill.

Capparis zoharyi Inocencio

Capparis hierosolymitana Danin

Capparis sicula Veill.

Capparis napaulensis DC.

Capparis leucophylla DC.

Capparis obovata Royle

Capparis ovata auct. non Desf.

Common Name: Caper

No Image.

General Information

Capparis spinosa spinosa is a very spiny, prostrate-spreading to ascending, evergreen shrub with branches usually up to 2 metres long, occasionally reaching 3 metres. Some forms of this plant die back to the rootstock in the dormant season[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].
The plant is commonly harvested from the wild for local use and also for trade as a food and a medicine. It is occasionally cultivated for these purposes[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
]. Only the uses specifically ascribed to this subspecies are recorded here. Go to Capparis spinosa for the full list of uses for the species.

Known Hazards

Caper extracts and pulps have been used in cosmetics, but there have been cases reported of contact dermatitis and sensitivity from their use[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
].

Botanical References

1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 

Range

Throughout the Mediterranean and Arabian Peninsula, through the Middle East, Iraq, Iran and central Asia to China, Nepal and India

Habitat

Rocky habitats, stony slopes, steppe, dried river beds, foothills, cliffs, wastelands and old walls, sometimes a weed of cultivation; at elevations from sea level to 3,600 metres[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height1.50 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Capparis spinosa spinosa is native mainly to the warm temperate and subtropical regions of Europe, north Africa and Asia, with some forms extending to the continental climate of central Asia. It is usually found in arid and semi-arid climates with hot summers and warm to fairly cold winters. Dormant plants can tolerate short-lived temperatures falling to between -5 and -10°c[
187
Title
Perennials. Volumes 1 and 2.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1991
ISBN
0-330-30936-9
Description
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The plant prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 500 - 1,000mm, but tolerates 300 - 2,600mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Capers generally require a hot, well-drained dry position in full sun[
187
Title
Perennials. Volumes 1 and 2.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1991
ISBN
0-330-30936-9
Description
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
260
Title
Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books, London.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-330-37376-5
Description
Excellent photos of over 1,100 species and cultivars with habits and cultivation details plus a few plant uses. Many species are too tender for outdoors in Britain though there are many that can be grown outside.
]. Plants can tolerate some frost so long as the ground is very well-drained. They often dislike heavy soils, though some forms are found growing on clay[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Established plants are very tolerant of drought[
260
Title
Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books, London.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-330-37376-5
Description
Excellent photos of over 1,100 species and cultivars with habits and cultivation details plus a few plant uses. Many species are too tender for outdoors in Britain though there are many that can be grown outside.
]. They prefer a pH in the range 6.5 - 7.5, tolerating 6 - 8.3[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The plant is commonly harvested from the wild for food and medicine and is very occasionally cultivated in the northwestern Mediterranean[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].
This subspecies is very variable and several varieties have been described[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
]. We do not have separate entries for each of these subspecies, but a brief description is given below. If considering growing this plant then it would be advisable to select the variety according to the area where you wish to grow it:-
Var spinosa. Found in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria, probably also in Iraq, at elevations up to 800 metres. It grows on limestone, clay, marl and gypsum soils. This form has larger flower buds than the other varieties and is the form cultivated in the Mediterranean[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].
Ver canescens. A very widespread and ecologically adaptable form, found in Spain, France, Italy, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Arabian Peninsula, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. It grows on clay, marl, limestone and gypsum soils, often in substrata rich in soluble salts, and can become a weed of cultivation. This is one of the hardiest forms, being found at elevations up to 3,600 metres in the Himalayas[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].
Ver aegyptia. Found in Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Arabian Peninsula at elevations up to 2,000 metres. It is usually found on limestone, granite, gypsum, sand and rendzina soils. This form produces the largest fruits[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].
Var mucronifolia. Found in Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and the Arabian Peninsula at elevations up to 1,676 metres. It grows on granite, limestone, sand and conglomerates[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].
Var parviflora. Found in the Levant, Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India at elevations up to 1,850 metres. It grows on limestone, sandstone and claypans. This form has smaller flowers, fruits and leaves, often growing in semi-deserts[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].
Var herbacea. Found in the Ukraine, Turkey, Caucasus, central Asia, Afghanistan and western China at elevations up to 1,700 metres. It is found under a variety of edaphic conditions, from limestone to clay, often on substrata rich in soluble salts. One of the hardiest forms, usually dying back to the rootstock in the winter[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].
Var atlantica. Found in Morocco at elevations up to 2,000 metres. It is found on limestone, marl, clay, metamorphic substrata[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].

Edible Uses

In the Mediterranean, Middle East and central Asia the flower buds, widely collected from wild populations, are pickled and used for flavouring in cooking[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].

In several countries unripe fruits and young shoots are also pickled and used as a condiment[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].

Fruit - raw or cooked[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
]. A red crimson pulp[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
]. Rich in proteins and fats[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
]. It is eaten raw by people in Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Uzbekistan[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
]. The berry-like, ovoid, obovoid-pyriform, oblong, ellipsoid or globose fruit is usually 14 - 45mm long and 10 - 20mm wide, though can be up to 55mm x 33mm[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
]

An oil is extracted from the seeds[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].

The above is information we have found specifically applying to this subspecies. Go to the record for Capparis spinosa to obtain further information on the full range of uses for this subspecies.

Medicinal

Several therapeutic uses of this subspecies have been recorded:-
The plant is antidiabetic, antifungal, antileishmania, expectorant, analgesic and antiinflammatory[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
]. In Iran the plant is the source of many remedies for snakebites[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].
In India, all parts of the plant are considered stimulant and astringent, and used in Ayurvedic medicine as a hepatic protector, improving liver functions[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].

The bark and root are used for treating arthritis, rheumatism and toothache in Spain, Qatar, Iraq, India, etc.[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
]
The roots and root bark are also used to treat intermittent fevers, and as a diuretic, tonic, antidiarrheal, etc[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].

A jelly prepared from fruits is a remedy for rheumatism[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].

In Syria dried leaves steeped in vinegar are used to treat ulcers and head scabs[
1267
Title
A taxonomic revision of the Capparis spinosa group (Capparaceae) from the Mediterranean to Central Asia
Publication
Phytotaxa 174 (1): 001-024. 2014
Author
Silvio Fici
Website
http://www.mapress.com/phytotaxa/
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
1179-3155
Description
 
].

The above is information we have found specifically applying to this subspecies. Go to the record for Capparis spinosa to obtain further information on the full range of uses for this subspecies.

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Caper seeds are miniscule and seedlings are very slow growing. The fresh seed germinates quickly, although germination rates are usually quite low[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
]. Dried seed becomes dormant and notably difficult to germinate - pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water at around 40°c which is then allowed to cool. Then wrap them in a moist cloth, place them in a sealed glass jar and kept in the refrigerator for 2 - 3 months. After refrigeration, soak the seeds again in warm water overnight. Sow the seeds about 1cm deep in a loose well drained soil medium in a sunny position in a greenhouse[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of well-drained soil when they are large enough to handle. Grow on the young plants for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid-summer in a sandy medium in a cold frame[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Use stems from the basal portions, greater than 1cm diameter and 8cm long with 6 - 10 buds. Use a loose, well drained media with bottom heat. A 70% rooting percentage would be considered good[
646
Title
New Crops FactSheets
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Publisher
Purdue University
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to giving information on potential new agricultural crops.
]

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