Capparis spinosa




pronounced: kap-ar-AY-see-eye

the caper family

This is a highly diverse, mainly tropical family, that is not well defined at present – some members of the family should possibly be placed elsewhere. Capparaceae is derived from the Greek καππαρις (kapparis), the caper-plant or its fruit. These are shrubs, small trees, herbs or sometimes lianas. The flowers are regular or slightly irregular, and bisexual with 4 separate sepals, 4 separate petals, and 4 to numerous stamens. The ovary is superior with 2 united carpels forming a single chamber. It matures as a capsule (or sometimes a berry), with 1 or more reniform seeds.


Illustration by Otto Wilhelm Thomé (1840-1925) (Flora von Deutschland Österreich und der Schweiz), via Wikimedia Commons