Caper is an evergreen shrub that originated in the Middle East. It can be found in some weird places though. It has grown over ancient ruins of city walls to growing up the sides of modern day buildings.
The first recorded use of the Caper bush was for medicinal purposes back in 2000 BC. It is still used today for medical reasons as well as a cooking condiment! If you are looking for a shrub to plant in your garden that likes to cling to stone and has beautiful flowers with a purpose, the Caper bush might be right for you!
This is a tender evergreen shrub that grows up to 4 feet tall and 4 and a half feet wide. Masses of green buds can be harvested or let grow to become white four-petalled flowers with long pink and purple stamens. These flowers will stick around from early summer until fall. The leaves are an oval shape of mid-green and light brown colors. These leaves grow on long stems that have been recorded up to 4 and a half feet long. This bush has two very sharp spines at the base of its leafs.
Capparis spinosa inermis
This variation of caper is the spineless caper. It is just like the Caper but without the two sharp spines at the base of its leaves.
Caper seends are tiny and take a long time to grow into transplantable seedlings. If the seeds dry, they become dormant and require a bit more time to germinate so be patient. Immerse the dried seeds in hot water (105 degrees), and let them soak for a day.Remove the seeds and place them on a damp white towel. Then you may put them into a sealed container and keep refrigerated for 2-3 months. Soak seeds again in warm water overnight and then sow into trays. Use a seed compost mix with perlite. Keep above 50 degrees. Plants raised from seeds will not flower for 4 to 5 years. It is best to raise plants from cuttings off of new spring growth.
If you plan to grow in a pot, I would advise you to grow the spineless variant of the species. Prune the plant in the fall and it will look wonderful. Use loam compost mixed with horticultural grit.
The bright green tightly closed flower buds are editable, but they don’t taste too good fresh. If you want to raise them to eat, you need to pickle them. To do this, first remove the stems and place them on a plate covered in sea salt. Shake them around a few times for a couple days. Rinse them off in running water and then pack them into a jar. Add a few fennel seeds and immature flowers , then fill jar with white wine vinegar, and seal. In a month they will be ready to go!
The parts of this plant that are used for medicinal purposes are the bark from the roots and the flower buds. The roots are used to treat insanity, snake bites, chest pain, jaundice, and malaria. The buds are used to treat coughs.