Caper Bush

Capparis spinosa

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.
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Full sun, Partial sun

Once established, needs only occasional water.

We no longer grow this plant

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Botanical PronunciationKAP-ar-iss spy-NO-suh
LoreWith 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.
Average Size at MaturityModerate grower to 2-3 ft. tall and wide.
Bloom TimeSpring through Fall
Design IdeasThis carefree Mediterranean shrub makes a perfect for underplanting to a single specimen or trio of Olive trees.
Deciduous/ EvergreenEvergreen
Flower AttributeFragrant, Showy Flowers
Flower ColorWhite
Foliage ColorGreen
Garden StyleMediterranean, Rustic
Growth HabitRounded
Growth RateFast
Landscape UseErosion Control, Espalier, Mass Planting, Coastal Exposure
Light NeedsFull sun, Partial sun
Special FeatureEasy Care, Edible
Water NeedsLow
Watering NeedsOnce established, needs only occasional water.

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.

This Plant's Growing Zones: 9-11

Your USDA Cold Hardiness Zone:

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