Capparis spinosa, the caper bush, also called Flinders rose, is a perennial plant that bears rounded, fleshy leaves and large white to pinkish-white flowers. The caper bush is a small, salt-tolerant shrub with trailing, thorny branches and thick, fleshy leaves. Caper has a deep root system and trailing vines that grow seven to 10 feet tall. Caper is a deciduous, dicotyledonous plant that produces distinctive flower buds, which have a life span of 24 to 36 hours after opening.
Caper Bush Culinary Uses
Caper’s edible shoots are considered a vegetable, and its processed buds are considered a culinary herb. The plant is best known for the edible flower buds (capers), often used as a seasoning, and the fruit (caper berries), both of which are usually consumed pickled. Caper leaves, which are hard to find outside of Greece or Cyprus, are used particularly in salads and fish dishes. They are pickled or boiled and preserved in jars with brine—like caper buds. Dried caper leaves are also used as a substitute for rennet in the manufacturing of high-quality cheese.
Growing Caper Bush
- The plant requires a semiarid or arid climate.
- Soak seeds in water for 12 hours.
- The Seeds require cold stratification to germinate.
- Remove seeds from water, wrap in a moist towel, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for 65-70 days.
- Remove from the refrigerator and soak in water again for 12 hours.
- Because the plant has a very sensitive root system and responds badly to transplanting, it is advisable to plant the seeds directly into its permanent location in a container or in the garden, where you want the caper bush to grow.
- Plant the seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep, water well and keep in a warm place in part or full sun.
- Germination is very erratic. Keep soil moist during the germination period, which should start within 3-4 weeks, but can take as long as three months or more.
Information is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment offered by healthcare professionals.