Caper Bush

Capparis spinosa

Item 071291


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USDA Zone:
Your zone may be too cold for this plant:
Key feature:
  • Light Needs
    Full sun to Partial sun
  • Watering Needs
    Once established, needs only occasional water.

A low-mounding, waterwise shrub with durable foliage on arching reddish stems.The immature flower buds of the caper bush have a piquant flavor, popular as a garnish in classic Mediterranean cuisine. Unharvested, the buds open to lightly scented, pinkish white flowers. Thrives in lean soils with little care. Evergreen.

Bloom Close up :: Credit: M. Palis Medium Shot :: Credit: Fotosearch Close up ::
Price: $19.50
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I'm gardening in: Ashburn, VA 20149
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Average Landscape Size
Moderate grower to 2-3 ft. tall and wide.
Flowering Season
Botanical Name: Capparis spinosa
Deciduous/ Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Habit: Round
Growth Rate: Fast
Special Feature: Easy Care, Edible
Foliage Color: Green
Flower Attribute: Showy Flowers ,   Fragrant
Bloom Time: Spring through Fall
Flower Color: White
Garden Style: Rustic ,   Mediterranean
Design Ideas: This carefree Mediterranean shrub makes a perfect for underplanting to a single specimen or trio of Olive trees.

Provide lean, sharply draining soil. After establishment, water infrequently during the hot season. Prune only as needed to remove old or damaged foliage. Use caution to avoid the small spines along main branches.


With a pungency and taste similar to that of a peppery mustard, the caper gets its flavor from an enzymatic reaction with a glycoside named glucocapparin that is released from plant tissues when crushed. Contributing to the complexity is Rutin, a bitter flavonoid glycoside also found in Rue (Ruta sp.). For culinary purpose, caper buds are harvested immediately before flowering, then washed, dried and salted or pickled in vinegar. The smaller buds, called nonpareilles or surfines are considered a higher quality than the larger buds, called capucines or communes. The semi-mature fruits, called caperberries (cornichon de c'pres) and new leaves are often also pickled for use as a condiment. The tender young shoots are sometimes used as a vegetable.

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