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the web of life in southern Africa

Capparis spinosa (Caper bush)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid II > Order: Brassicales > Family: Capparaceae

Native to Mediterranean, Arabia and central and west Asia. Grows as a shrub to 1 m high. Capers are the unopened buds of this plant, pickled in white wine vinegar (Sicilian capers are pickled in brine). Capers are used in tartare, ravigote, remoulade and puttanesca sauces and caper sauce for lamb. They are also used in fish dishes and hors d'oeuvres such as caponata.

Glen (2002) does not record this species as being cultivated in southern Africa.



  • van Wyk, B.-E. 2005. Food Plants of the World - Identification, Culinary Uses and Nutritional Value. Briza, Pretoria.