16 responses to “Capparis spinosa”

  1. Anna L

    Every day a new delight, now that you’re back, Daniel! The capparis spinosas, already interesting, and then—I investigate “dehiscent” and discovered a world of plants I already know from garden and wild flowers- but now I can combine them all by the characteristic of dehiscent seed dispersal. A whole new world of plant organization opens up to the mind of a humble gardener!
    My next delight, the history of this plant from ancient times- is again an intriguing story of the talents of people worldwide who uncover this ancient history.
    Then, the final delight—I realize this beautiful flower, with such a story, is my little bottled caper, which I love with my smoked salmon and cream cheese. I will never view a caper the same way again!
    Thank-you, Daniel, for sharing so generously your joy and vast, wide-ranging knowledge with us all!

    1. Paddy Wales

      Dehiscent is a delicious word and concept to know and observe. Oh, those crafty plants and their plans to send their children abroad!

  2. Wendy Cutler

    Interesting comment about the family, I just assumed, having not noticed or forgotten the info at the top of the posting, that since it contained mustard oil it would be in the Brassicaceae family. I see that there are several isothiocyanates, all in the order Brassicales.

  3. Sandy Steinman

    Excellent capture. Well lit.

  4. Nette

    Beautiful and tasty.

  5. Bugscuttle

    I am SO glad you’re all back! Thank you for all you do!

  6. Mats Ellting

    Thank you for showing my photo.

    I’m really glad that you are are back. Please add RSS so it’s easier to follow.

  7. F. Joseph Peabody

    Is the plant family name Capparaceae or Capparidaceae?
    The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature specifies that plant names are to be rendered in Latin according to specific rules for each category or taxonomic level: Order, Family, Genus, Species, etc.
    Plant family names are formed by adding the standard family ending “-aceae” to the stem of the name. The stem of the name is found by removing the “ending” from the genitive singular of the name. There are five noun declensions in Latin, and some of them have irregular stems and endings.
    From my classical Latin days I always assumed that the correct family name for this species to be Capparidaceae, based on what I thought to be the genitive singular: capparidis (one of those irregular nouns of the third declension whose genitive singular has an extra syllable with the letter “d” included). The family name would then be formed by removing the “-is” ending from the genitive singular (giving us “capparid-“: the “stem” of the word) and adding the standard “-aceae” family ending, thereby yielding Capparidaceae.

    However a consultation of a Latin dictionary reveals that this name is not an irregular noun of the third declension, but a regular noun of the third declension: meaning that the genitive singular is not “capparidis” but “capparis” (just like the nominative singular).
    So the formation of the family name is achieved by adding the standard “-aceae” ending to the stem, which is now found by removing the ending “-is” from the genitive singular which is “capparis,” yielding “Capparaceae.”
    This is not, however, the same situation with the family name for the milkweeds. The nominative singular is “Asclepias” but the genitive singular is “Asclepiadis.” This gives us the family name “Asclepiadaceae.”
    After conducting a web search I see that there are some sites that use “Capparidaceae” with or without an indication of the alternative “Capparaceae.” Some botanists (eg. Crosswhite and Iltis 1966) through the years have assumed, as I did, that “Capparidaceae” is the correct form, but this view cannot be supported from classical Latin usage since this species was well known to ancient writers, and has entered into classical lexicons as: “Capparis” (nom. sing.), “Capparis” (gen. sing.) and not “Capparis” (nom. sing.), “Capparidis” (gen sing.).
    So after all of this, Daniel has it correct at the top of this Webpage: Capparaceae.

  8. Susan Gustavson

    Interesting entry, thank you.

  9. Pat Willits

    Daniel, I’m so glad you’re back! The photos are always a visual poem, & I learn so much from every entry.

    For example: I thought capers are the buds of the nasturtium plant. Today’s BPOD led me to look into that belief, & guess what: nasturtium buds are called poor man’s capers & are not the real thing. Who knew? Not I.

  10. Alan Butler

    Here in Souther Spain it grows wild but can be regarded as a “nice weed”. We let them grow where we can.

  11. Aina S. Erice

    Lovely! Indeed in many parts of Spain it’s rather common to find them growing on old city walls and fortifications, and some towns or villages may pick(le) them and sell them afterwards.
    The fruit may also be pickled and eaten, although the flavour is much sharper than that of the buds… also, there are apparently different “varieties” (or landraces, I haven’t checked the science there) that are recognised as gastronomically distinct by organisations such as Slow Food. I once had the pleasure of attending a caper tasting session and a tour around caper bush “plantations” — and the varieties we sampled did have flavours that were different, in subtle ways…

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