Capparis herbacea Willd. - Caper tree (common capers).

Taxonomic position.

Family: Capparaceae Juss.; Species: Capparis L.

The main synonyms.

Capparis ovata Desf. var.herbaceae (Willd.) Zohary, C.spinosa auct.)

Morphology and biology.

Perennial dioecious plant. A root is straight, up to 10-12 m in length. Stems are numerous, stretched, up to 1,5 m in length. Stipules are as yellowish prickles, direct or bent. Leaves are on short stalks, round, back - ovate or elliptic, with the sharp end. Young leaves and the ends of branches are frequently covered by white felt pubescens. Flowers are 5-8 cm in diameter, single, are distributed in bosoms of leaves, on the pedicel, which exceeds the length of closest leave. The calyx consists from ovate concave leaflets, which are pubescent outside by short hairs. Petals are up to 4 cm in length, light pink or yellowish. Gynaecium is on a pedicel, 3-5 cm in length. A capsule is oblong, back-ovate, 2,5-4,5 cm in length and 1,5-3 cm in width. Seeds are brown, dot, about 3 mm in diameter. Blossoms in May - June, fructifies in June - August.


The general distribution: Eastern and the Western Mediterranean, Balkan - Asia Minor, Armenian-Kurdish, Iranian and Dzhungarian-Kashgarian regions. In territory of the former USSR: the European part - Crimea; Caucasus - all areas (except for high mountains and territories with high humidity); Central Asia - southern and central regions (except for sandy deserts, flat sites and high mountains).


On gray soils, clay, crashed-stoned soils and salted soils, on slopes of mountains (the bottom mountain belt), on waste grounds and ruins.

Use and economic value.

Flower buds are used for food (capers). The local population on Caucasus traditionally collects buds of this plants in natural populations for own use, in some areas buds are collect for industrial scale. In Armenia crude buds and mature fruits are used. In Fergana valley (Uzbekistan) they use both pulp of fresh fruits, and the oil which is squeezed out of seeds. Good honey plant. In the Western Europe it is cultivated.


Cherepanov, S.K. 1995. Plantae Vasculares Rossicae et Civitatum Collimitanearum (in limicis USSR olim). St-Petersburg, "Mir I Semia", 990 p. (in Russian).
Flora of Kazakhstan. 1970, Goloskokov (ed.). - Alma-Ata, Т.4, p. 161.
Flora USSR, 1939. Vol. VIII. Komarov V.L. (ed.) - M.-L.: Publishing House of Acad. Science, pp. 2-3. (in Russian).
Galushko, A.I. 1980. Flora of Northern Caucasia. Vol.II. Rostov, Publishing house of Rostov State University, p. 64-65. (in Russian).
Grossgeim, A.A. 1950. Flora of Caucasia. - Baku, Publishing House of Acad. Science of the USSR, Vol. IV, 253 p., appendix. (in Russian).
Nikitin, V.V., Geldihanov A.M. 1988. The Manual of plants of Turkmenistan. - L.: Nauka, p. 237.
The Manual of Middle Asia plants. 1974. M.G. Pahomova (ed.) - Tashkent, "Fan", Vol. IV, p. 30-31. (in Russian).

© Smekalova, T.N.


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