Description: Procumbent shrub with branches to 3m, dark green, internodes 15—50mm. Spines curved, yellow-orange, 3—6 × 2—3mm wide at the base. Leaves thin, not leathery, ovate, elliptic or oblong, apex acute, with a well differentiated usually curved abrupt sharp point, base rounded or somewhat tapering, dark green, 35 × 20—45mm, leaf veins not prominent, stalks short, 10—15mm. Flower buds acute with thick, long stalks, 55—70mm. Flowers asymmetrical. Fruits ovoid.
Poison: None Known
Uses: Immature flower buds are pickled in vinegar or preserved in granular salt. Semi-mature fruits and young shoots with small leaves may also be pickled for use as a condiment. They have a piquant flavor and add pungency, a peculiar aroma and saltiness to comestibles such as pasta sauces, pizza, fish, meats and salads. The flavor may be described as being similar to that of mustard and black pepper. The strong flavor comes from mustard oil: methyl isothiocyanate (released from glucocapparin molecules) arising from crushed plant tissues .
Said to reduce flatulence and to be anti-rheumatic in effect. In ayurvedeic medicine they are recorded as hepatic stimulants and protectors, improving liver function.They are used for arteriosclerosis, as diuretics, kidney disinfectants, vermifuges and tonics. Infusions and decoctions from caper root bark have been traditionally used for dropsy, anemia, arthritis and gout. Capers contain considerable amounts of the anti-oxidant bioflavinoid rutin. Extracts and pulps have been used in cosmetics, but there has been reported contact dermatitis and sensitivity from their use.
Capers make an important contribution to the pantheon of classic Mediterranean flavors that include: olives, rucola (argula, or garden rocket), anchovies and artichokes. Tender young shoots including immature small leaves may also be eaten as a vegetable, or pickled. More rarely, mature and semi-mature fruits are eaten as a cooked vegetable. Additionally, ash from burned caper roots has been used as a source of salt.
Israel and The Palestinian Territories,