This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, caper, said by some to have been derived from the Arabic name of the plant). Cappa-riddcese. Caper-Bush, or Caper-Tree. Greenhouse plants North, and suited to the open in Florida and California.
Trees and shrubs, with simple leaves: sepals 4, rarely 5; petals usually 4; stamens usually many, inserted on the receptacle, the filaments thread-like and free; ovary long-stalked, 1-4-celled, with many ovules. - More than 150 species distributed throughout the warm regions of the earth. Differing from Cleome and most other cultivation genera of the family in having baccate, not capsular, fruit
Capers are pickles made by preserving the flower-buds of C. spinosa, a straggling shrub which grows out of old walls, rocks, and rubbish in Mediterranean regions and India. Also rarely cultivated as a greenhouse flowering shrub. Propagation is by cuttings of ripe wood, under a bell-jar, in greenhouses, and by seeds South.
Linn. Fig. 785. Spiny shrub, 3 ft. high, often straggling and vine-like: leaves roundish or ovate, deciduous: flowers borne singly, alternately, and fading before noon; sepals 4; petals 4, oblong, clawed, wavy, white, 1 1/2 in. long; stamens 40-50; filaments purple above, perhaps the chief beauty of the plant. B.M. 291. -What seems to be the long style with a short unopened stigma, is really the elongated peduncle or torus topped by the pistil, which has no style and a minute stigma. variety rupestris (C. rupestris, Sibth. & Smith) is a spineless form.
Fig. 785. Capparis spinosa. (X 1/6)
A much-branched shrub, usually very spiny, and more or less densely tomentose: leaves ovate-oblong, 1-1 1/2 in. long, narrowed into a short petiole: flowers few, axillary, white or yellowish, followed by a tomentose globular berry 2 in. diam. Sand plains of Austral. - Suitable for dry places outdoors in S. Calif.
C. acuminata, Lindl. stem shrubby, with flexuose, smooth branches: leaves petiolate ovate-lanceolate, acuminate: flowers large, solitary, white, the conspicuous stamens 3-4 times as long as the petals. China. B.R. 1320. Wllhelm Miller.