Caper bush (Capperis spinosa), also known as Flinders Rose
Capers are well known as a pickled condiment. It is the flower buds that are harvested and pickled though, after flowering, the fruit or berries can also be harvested for pickling.
The bush, with its long stems, is a perennial plant that is found throughout the Mediterranean region and in my mother’s garden in Erice.
Flower buds and leaves on the Caper Bush
In addition to the culinary use of the buds and berries the leaves can also be pickled and used in salads.
The delicate flowers of the Caper Bush
The plant is said to have several medicinal benefits including remedies for diabetes, fungal infections, chest congestion, intestinal worms , and skin disease caused by a form of leishmaniasis.
Slender, young seed pods
Capers are used in many Sicilian dishes and salads, while the leaves are more often seen in Cypriot food.
While rich in some nutritional aspects pickled capers have a high sodium content.
Sources: US Dept of Agriculture via Wikipedia