Capparis aphylla Roth. Capparideae. Caper. Kureel.
Northern Africa, Arabia and East Indies. In India, the bud of this plant is eaten as a potherb, and the fruit is largely consumed by the natives, both green and ripe and is formed into a pickle. In Sind, the flower-buds are used as a pickle, and the unripe fruit is cooked and eaten. Both the ripe and unripe fruit, prepared into a bitter-tasting pickle, is exported into Hindustan. Its fruit, before ripening, is cooked and eaten by the Banians of Arabia. The African species is described by Barth as forming one of the characteristic features in the vegetation of Africa from the desert to the Niger, the dried berries constituting an important article of food, while the roots when burned yield no small quantity of salt.
Capparis horrida Linn. f. Caper.
Tropical Asia and Malays. In the southern Punjab and Sind, the fruit is pickled.
Capparis spinosa Linn. Caper.
Mediterranean regions, East Indies and Orient. This species furnishes buds which are substituted for the capers of commerce. It is used as a caper. The preserved buds have received wide distribution as a vegetable. The caper was known to the ancient Greeks, and the renowned Phryne, at the first period of her residence in Athens, was a dealer in capers. The Greeks of the Crimea, according to Pallas, eat the sprouts, which resemble those of asparagus, as well as the bud, shoot, and, in short, every eatable part of the shrub. Wilkinson states that the fruit of the Egyptian caper, or lussef, is very large, like a small cucumber, about two and a half inches long and is eaten by the Arabs. According to Ruellius, Aristotle and Theophrastus describe the plant as not cultivated in gardens, but in his time, 1536, it was in the gardens of France. In Sind and the Punjab, the fruit is pickled and eaten. It is now cultivated in the south of Europe for the flower-buds, which furnish the capers of commerce. About 1755, capers were imported into South Carolina by Henry Laurens. They were raised successfully for two years in Louisiana, before 1854, but the plants afterwards perished by frost.
Capparis tomentosa Lam. Kowangee.
This is the kowangee of tropical Africa. In famines at Madi, spinach is made from its leaves.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.