Caper
Overview
Capparis spinosa, the caper bush, is a perennial winter-deciduous species that bears rounded, fleshy leaves and large white to pinkish-white flowers. A caper is also the pickled bud
Bud
In botany, a bud is an undeveloped or embryonic shoot and normally occurs in the axil of a leaf or at the tip of the stem. Once formed, a bud may remain for some time in a dormant condition, or it may form a shoot immediately. Buds may be specialized to develop flowers or short shoots, or may have...

 of this plant. Caper bush is present in almost all the circum-Mediterranean countries and is included in the floristic composition of most of them but whether it is indigenous to this region is uncertain.
Encyclopedia
Capparis spinosa, the caper bush, is a perennial winter-deciduous species that bears rounded, fleshy leaves and large white to pinkish-white flowers. A caper is also the pickled bud
Bud
In botany, a bud is an undeveloped or embryonic shoot and normally occurs in the axil of a leaf or at the tip of the stem. Once formed, a bud may remain for some time in a dormant condition, or it may form a shoot immediately. Buds may be specialized to develop flowers or short shoots, or may have...

 of this plant. Caper bush is present in almost all the circum-Mediterranean countries and is included in the floristic composition of most of them but whether it is indigenous to this region is uncertain. Although the flora of the Mediterranean region
Mediterranean Basin
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation...

 has considerable endemism, the caper bush could have originated in the tropics, and later been naturalized to the Mediterranean basin. The plant is best known for the edible bud and fruit (caper berry), which are usually consumed pickled. Other species of Capparis are also picked along with C. spinosa for their buds or fruits.

Plant

The caper bush (Capparis spinosa L., Capparidaceae) has been introduced as a specialized culture in some European countries in the last four decades. The economic importance of caper plant (young flower buds, known as capers, are greatly favored for seasoning and different parts of the plant are used in the manufacture of medicines and cosmetics) led to a significant increase in both the area under cultivation and production levels during the late 1980s. The main production areas are in harsh environments found in Morocco, the southeastern Iberia
Iberia
The name Iberia refers to three historical regions of the old world:* Iberian Peninsula, in Southwest Europe, location of modern-day Portugal and Spain** Prehistoric Iberia...

n peninsula, Turkey, and the Italian islands of Pantelleria
Pantelleria
Pantelleria , the ancient Cossyra, is an Italian island in the Strait of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, southwest of Sicily and just east of the Tunisian coast. Administratively Pantelleria is a comune belonging to the Sicilian province of Trapani...

 and Salina. This species has developed special mechanisms in order to survive in the Mediterranean conditions, and introduction in semiarid lands may help to prevent the disruption of the equilibrium of those fragile ecosystems.

Capparis spinosa is highly variable in nature in its native habitats and is found growing near the closely related species C. sicula, C. orientalis, and C. aegyptia. Scientists can use the known distributions of each species to identify the origin of commercially prepared capers.

The shrubby plant is many-branched, with alternate leaves, thick and shiny, round to ovate in shape. The flowers are complete
Plant sexuality
Plant sexuality covers the wide variety of sexual reproduction systems found across the plant kingdom. This article describes morphological aspects of sexual reproduction of plants....

, sweetly fragrant, showy, with four sepals, and four white to pinkish-white petals, many long violet-colored stamens, and a single stigma usually rising well above the stamens.

Environmental requirements

The caper bush requires a semiarid climate. Mean annual temperatures in areas under cultivation are over 14 °C and rainfall varies from 200 mm/year in Spain to 460 in Pantelleria and 680 in Salina. In Pantelleria, it rains only 35 mm from May through August, and 84 mm in Salina. A rainy spring and a hot dry summer are considered advantageous. This drought-tolerant perennial plant has favourable influence on the environment and it is utilized for landscaping and reducing erosion along highways, steep rocky slopes, sand dunes or fragile semiarid ecosystems.

A harvest duration of at least 3 months is necessary for profitability. Intense daylight and a long growing period are necessary to secure high yields. The caper bush can withstand temperatures over 40 °C in summer but it is sensitive to frost during its vegetative period. The potential exposure of caper hydraulic architecture to cavitations has recently been proposed as an explanation for its susceptibility to freezing conditions. On the other side, caper bush is able to survive low temperatures in the form of stump, as it happens in the foothills of the Alps. Caper plants are found even 3,500 m above sea-level in Ladakh though they are usually grown at lower altitudes. Some Italian and Argentine plantings can withstand strong winds without problems, due to caper bush decumbent architecture and the coriaceous consistency of the leaves in some populations.

The caper bush is a rupiculous species. It is widespread on rocky areas and is grown on different soil associations, including alfisols, regosols and lithosols. In different Himalayan locations, C. spinosa tolerates both silty clay and sandy, rocky or gravelly surface soils, with less than 1% organic matter. It grows on bare rocks, crevices, cracks and sand dunes in Pakistan, in dry calcareous escarpments of the Adriatic region, in dry coastal ecosystems of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, in transitional zones between the littoral salt marsh and the coastal deserts of the Asian Red Sea coast, in the rocky arid bottoms of the Jordan valley, in calcareous sandstone cliffs at Ramat Aviv, Israel, and in central west and northwest coastal dunes of Australia. It grows spontaneously in wall joints of antique Roman fortresses, on the Wailing Wall, and on the ramparts of the castle of Santa Bárbara (Alicante, Spain). Moreover, this bush happens to grow in the foothills of the southern Alps (Verona, Italy) and is a common species on city walls in Tuscany (Italy) and on bastions of Mdina and Valletta (Malta). Clinging caper plants are dominant on the medieval limestone-made ramparts of Alcudia and the bastions of Palma (Majorca, Spain). This aggressive pioneering has brought about serious problems for the protection of monuments.

The caper bush has developed a series of mechanisms that reduce the impact of high radiation levels, high daily temperature and insufficient soil water during its growing period.

Caper bush has a curious reaction to sudden increases in humidity: it forms wart-like pock marks across the leaf surface. This is apparently harmless, as the plant quickly adjusts to the new conditions and produces unaffected leaves.

It also shows characteristics of a plant adapted to poor soils. This shrub has a high root/shoot ratio and the presence of mycorrhizae serves to maximize the uptake of minerals in poor soils. Different nitrogen-fixing bacterial strains have been isolated from the caper bush rhizosphere playing a role in maintaining high reserves of that growth-limiting element.

Propagation

Capers can be grown easily from fresh seeds gathered from ripe fruit and planted into well drained seed-raising mix.
Seedlings will appear in 2–4 weeks. Old, stored seeds enter a state of dormancy and require cold stratification
Stratification (botany)
In horticulture, stratification is the process of pretreating seeds to simulate natural winter conditions that a seed must endure before germination. Many seed species undergo an embryonic dormancy phase, and generally will not sprout until this dormancy is broken...

 to germinate. The seed of the genus Capparis is bitegmic. The testa is 0.2–0.3 mm thick, with all its cell walls somewhat lignified, some of them with distinct thickening; its tegmen consists of an outer fibrous, lignified layer four to ten-cell thick, with a lignified endotegmen composed of contiguous cuboid cells, with strongly thickened radial walls. Only the mesophyll between exo- and endotegmen is unlignified. Caper seed germination shows a dependence on the integrity of the covering structures. The viable embryos germinate within 3 to 4 days after partial removal of the lignified seed coats. The seed coats and the mucilage surrounding the seeds may be ecological adaptations to avoid water loss and conserve seed viability during the dry season.

Use of stem cuttings avoids high variability in terms of production and quality. Nevertheless, plants grown from cuttings are more susceptible to drought during the first years after planting. Caper bush is a difficult-to-root woody species and successful propagation requires careful consideration of biotypes and seasonal and environmental parameters. Rooting percentages up to 55 are possible when using one-year-old wood, depending on cutting harvest time and substrate utilized. Propagation from stem cuttings is the standard method for growing ‘Mallorquina’ and ‘Italiana’ in Spain, and ‘Nocella’ in Salina. Hardwood cuttings vary in length from 15 to 50 cm and diameter of the cuttings may range from 1 to 2.5 cm. Another possibility is to collect stems during February through the beginning of March, treat them with captan or captafol and stratify them outdoors or in a chamber at 3–4 °C, covered with sand or plastic. Moisture content and drainage should be carefully monitored and maintained until planting. Using semi-hardwood cuttings, collected and planted during August and September, low survival rates (under 30%) have been achieved. Softwood cuttings are prepared in April from 25- to 30-day shoots. Each cutting should contain at least two nodes and be six to ten centimetre long. Basal or subterminal cuttings are more successful than terminal ones. Then, cuttings are planted in a greenhouse under a mist system with bottom heat; 150 to 200 cuttings/m2 may be planted.

Orchard establishment

Caper plantings over 25 to 30 years old are still productive. Thus, physical properties of the soil (texture and depth) are particularly important. Caper bush can develop an extensive root system and grows best on deep, non-stratified, medium-textured, loamy soils. Mouldboard plowing and harrowing are usual practices prior to caper plant establishment Soil-profile modification practices, such as slip plowing operating 0.6 to 1 m deep, can ameliorate some restrictions. In Pantelleria, digging backhoe pits for each shrub was found to be the most effective means of cultivating caper in rocky soils. Two planting designs are used: square/rectangle and hedgerow system. Spacing is determined by the vigour of the biotype, fertility of the soil, equipment used and the irrigation method, if any. Bush spacing of 2.5 X 2.5 m or 2.5 X 2 m is common in Pantelleria. In Salina, 3 X 3 m is satisfactory for ‘Nocella’. In Spain, 4 X 4 or 5 X 5 m is satisfactory for ‘Mallorquina’. Spacing of 2 to 2.5 m is appropriate if C. spinosa is used to control soil erosion on slopes.

Culinary uses

The salted
Salting (food)
Salting is the preservation of food with dry edible salt. It is related to pickling . It is one of the oldest methods of preserving food, and two historically significant salt-cured foods are dried and salted cod and salt-cured meat.Salting is used because most bacteria, fungi and other potentially...

 and pickled
Pickling
Pickling, also known as brining or corning is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation in brine to produce lactic acid, or marinating and storing it in an acid solution, usually vinegar . The resulting food is called a pickle. This procedure gives the food a salty or sour taste...

 caper bud (also called simply capers) is often used as a seasoning
Seasoning
Seasoning is the process of imparting flavor to, or improving the flavor of, food.- General meaning :Seasonings include herbs and spices, which are themselves frequently referred to as "seasonings"...

 or garnish. Capers are a common ingredient in Mediterranean
Mediterranean Basin
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation...

 cuisine
Cuisine
Cuisine is a characteristic style of cooking practices and traditions, often associated with a specific culture. Cuisines are often named after the geographic areas or regions that they originate from...

, especially Cypriot
Cypriot cuisine
Cypriot cuisine is the cuisine of Cyprus and can be described as a blend of Greek cuisines. Greek Cypriot cuisine is another regional Greek cuisine along with Cretan, Ionian, or Attic....

, Italian
Italian cuisine
Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BCE. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, Jewish and Arab cuisines...

 and Maltese
Maltese cuisine
Maltese cuisine refers to the dishes identified as Maltese. Reflecting Maltese history, it shows strong Sicilian and English influences as well as influences of Spanish, Maghrebin and Provençal cuisines.-History:...

. The mature fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 of the caper shrub
Shrub
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...

 are also prepared similarly, and marketed as caper berries.

The buds, when ready to pick, are a dark olive green and about the size of a fresh kernel of corn
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

. They are picked, then pickled in salt
Salt
In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

, or a salt and vinegar
Vinegar
Vinegar is a liquid substance consisting mainly of acetic acid and water, the acetic acid being produced through the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. Commercial vinegar is produced either by fast or slow fermentation processes. Slow methods generally are used with traditional...

 solution
Solution
In chemistry, a solution is a homogeneous mixture composed of only one phase. In such a mixture, a solute is dissolved in another substance, known as a solvent. The solvent does the dissolving.- Types of solutions :...

, or drained. Intense flavor is developed, as mustard oil
Mustard oil
The term mustard oil is used for three different oils that are made from mustard seeds:*A fatty vegetable oil resulting from pressing the seeds,...

 (glucocapparin) is released from each caper bud. This enzymatic reaction also leads to the formation of rutin
Rutin
Rutin, also called rutoside, quercetin-3-O-rutinoside and sophorin, is a citrus flavonoid glycoside found in buckwheat, the leaves and petioles of Rheum species, and asparagus...

 often seen as crystallized white spots on the surfaces of individual caper buds.

Capers are a distinctive ingredient in Italian cuisine
Italian cuisine
Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BCE. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, Jewish and Arab cuisines...

, especially in Sicilian
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and southern Italian cooking. They are commonly used in salad
Salad
Salad is any of a wide variety of dishes, including vegetable salads; salads of pasta, legumes, eggs, or grains; mixed salads incorporating meat, poultry, or seafood; and fruit salads. They may include a mixture of cold and hot, often including raw vegetables or fruits.Green salads include leaf...

s, pasta salad
Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is a dish prepared with one or more types of pasta, usually chilled, and most often tossed in a vinegar, oil or mayonnaise-based dressing. It is typically served as an appetizer or a main course....

s, pizza
Pizza
Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, disc-shaped bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.Originating in Italy, from the Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria"...

s, meat dishes and pasta
Pasta
Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine, now of worldwide renown. It takes the form of unleavened dough, made in Italy, mostly of durum wheat , water and sometimes eggs. Pasta comes in a variety of different shapes that serve for both decoration and to act as a carrier for the...

 sauces. Examples of uses in Italian cuisine are chicken piccata and Spaghetti alla puttanesca.

Capers are also known for being one of the ingredients of tartar sauce
Tartar sauce
Tartare sauce is a creamy white sauce frequently used to season fried seafood dishes.-Composition:...

. They are also often served with cold smoked salmon
Salmon
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true...

 or cured salmon
Cured salmon
Cured salmon and other fish recipes have been found in many cultures stretching from the people of early to modern Scandinavia to the Native Americans....

 dishes (especially lox
Lox
Lox is salmon fillet that has been cured. In its most popular form, it is thinly sliced—less than in thickness—and, typically, served on a bagel, often with cream cheese, onion, tomato, cucumber and capers...

 and cream cheese). Capers are also sometimes substituted for olives to garnish a martini
Martini (cocktail)
The martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Over the years, the martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages. H. L. Mencken called the martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet" and E. B...

.

Capers are categorized and sold by their size, defined as follows, with the smallest sizes being the most desirable: Non-pareil (up to 7 mm), surfines (7–8 mm), capucines (8–9 mm), capotes (9–11 mm), fines (11–13 mm), and grusas (14+ mm). If the caper bud is not picked, it flowers and produces a fruit called a caperberry. The fruit can be pickled and then served as a Greek mezze.

Unripe nasturtium seeds can be substituted for capers; they have a very similar texture and flavour when pickled. Pickled caperberries are also very popular as a snack in Menorca.

In addition, the Greeks make good use of the caper's leaves, which are especially desirable and hard to find outside of Greece. They are pickled or boiled and preserved in jars with brine-like caper buds. Caper leaves are excellent in salads and fish dishes. Dried caper leaves are also used as a substitute for rennet
Rennet
Rennet is a complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, and is often used in the production of cheese. Rennet contains many enzymes, including a proteolytic enzyme that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids and liquid...

 in the manufacturing of high quality cheese.

Traditional uses

In Greek popular medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, a herbal tea made of caper root and young shoots is considered beneficial against rheumatism
Rheumatism
Rheumatism or rheumatic disorder is a non-specific term for medical problems affecting the joints and connective tissue. The study of, and therapeutic interventions in, such disorders is called rheumatology.-Terminology:...

. Dioscoride (MM 2.204t) also provides instructions on the use of sprouts, roots, leaves and seeds in the treatment of strangury
Strangury
Strangury is the symptom of painful, frequent urination of small volumes that are expelled slowly only by straining and despite a severe sense of urgency, usually with the residual feeling of incomplete emptying. These 'drops' of urine are 'squeezed out' in what sufferers describe as painful...

 and inflammation
Inflammation
Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process...

.

Different flavonoid
Flavonoid
Flavonoids , are a class of plant secondary metabolites....

s were identified in caper bush and capers: rutin
Rutin
Rutin, also called rutoside, quercetin-3-O-rutinoside and sophorin, is a citrus flavonoid glycoside found in buckwheat, the leaves and petioles of Rheum species, and asparagus...

 (quercetin 3-rutinoside), quercetin 7-rutinoside, quercetin 3-glucoside-7-rhamnoside, kaempferol-3-rutinoside, kaempferol-3-glucoside, and kaempferol-3-rhamnorutinoside. Rutin has no known toxicity. Capers contain more quercetin
Quercetin
Quercetin , a flavonol, is a plant-derived flavonoid found in fruits, vegetables, leaves and grains. It also may be used as an ingredient in supplements, beverages or foods.-Occurrence:...

 per weight than any other plant.

Caper root bark and leaves may have some anticarcinogenic activity. In fact, the hydrolysis products of indol-3-ylmethyl glucosinolates have anticarcinogenic effects. Although the consumption of capers is low in comparison with the intake of other major dietary sources of glucosinolates (white cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower) it may contribute to the daily dose of natural anticarcinogens that reduces cancer risk. Glucosinolates are also known to possess goitrogenic (anti-thyroid) activity. Also, rutin and quercetin may contribute to cancer prevention. Selenium, present in capers at high concentrations in comparison with other vegetable products, has also been associated with the prevention of some forms of cancer.

History

The caper was used in ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 as a carminative
Carminative
A carminative, also known as carminativum , is a herb or preparation that either prevents formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract or facilitates the expulsion of said gas, thereby combating flatulence...

. It is represented in archaeological levels in the form of carbonised
Carbonization
Carbonization or carbonisation is the term for the conversion of an organic substance into carbon or a carbon-containing residue through pyrolysis or destructive distillation. It is often used in organic chemistry with reference to the generation of coal gas and coal tar from raw coal...

 seeds
SEEDS
SEEDS is a voluntary organisation registered under the Societies Act of India....

 and rarely as flower buds and fruits from archaic
Archaic period in Greece
The Archaic period in Greece was a period of ancient Greek history that followed the Greek Dark Ages. This period saw the rise of the polis and the founding of colonies, as well as the first inklings of classical philosophy, theatre in the form of tragedies performed during Dionysia, and written...

 and Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 contexts. Athenaeus
Athenaeus
Athenaeus , of Naucratis in Egypt, Greek rhetorician and grammarian, flourished about the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd century AD...

 in Deipnosophistae
Deipnosophistae
The Deipnosophistae may be translated as The Banquet of the Learned or Philosophers at Dinner or The Gastronomers...

pays a lot of attention to the caper, as do Pliny
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 (NH XIX, XLVIII.163) and Theophrastus
Theophrastus
Theophrastus , a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young age, and initially studied in Plato's school. After Plato's death he attached himself to Aristotle. Aristotle bequeathed to Theophrastus his writings, and...

.

Etymologically, the caper and its relatives in several European tongues can be traced back to Classical Latin
Classical Latin
Classical Latin in simplest terms is the socio-linguistic register of the Latin language regarded by the enfranchised and empowered populations of the late Roman republic and the Roman empire as good Latin. Most writers during this time made use of it...

 capparis, “caper”, in turn borrowed from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 κάππαρις, kápparis, whose origin (as that of the plant) is unknown but is probably Asian. Another theory links kápparis to the name of the island of Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 (Κύπρος, Kýpros), where capers grow abundantly.
In Biblical times, the caper berry was apparently supposed to have aphrodisiac
Aphrodisiac
An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire. The name comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexuality and love. Throughout history, many foods, drinks, and behaviors have had a reputation for making sex more attainable and/or pleasurable...

 properties; the Hebrew word abiyyonah (אֲבִיּוֹנָה) for caperberry is closely linked to the Hebrew root אבה, meaning "desire". The word occurs once in the Bible, in the book of Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

, at verse .

The King James Version translates on the basis of the Hebrew root (and perhaps the metaphorical meaning):
...the grasshopper shall be a burden,
and desire shall fail.
( KJV)


The medieval Jewish commentator Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

 also gives a similar gloss ( JPR). However ancient translations, including the Septuagint, Vulgate
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

, Peshitta
Peshitta
The Peshitta is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition.The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from the Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD...

 and Aquila
Aquila of Sinope
Aquila of Sinope was a 2nd Century CE native of Pontus in Anatolia known for producing an exceedingly literal translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek around 130 CE. He was a proselyte to Judaism and a disciple of Rabbi Akiba...

, render the word more concretely as κάππαρις, "caper berry". Thus in the words of one modern idiomatic translation (2004),
...the grasshopper loses its spring,
and the caper berry has no effect;
( HCSB
Holman Christian Standard Bible
The Holman Christian Standard Bible is a modern English Bible translation from Holman Bible Publishers. The first full edition was completed in March 2004, with the New Testament alone having been previously published in 1999.- Beginnings :...

)


Of other modern versions, the NIV
New International Version
The New International Version is an English translation of the Christian Bible. Published by Zondervan in the United States and by Hodder & Stoughton in the UK, it has become one of the most popular modern translations in history.-History:...

 goes for "desire" ( NIV), while the NASB
New American Standard Bible
The New American Standard Bible , also informally called New American Standard Version , is an English translation of the Bible....

 has "caper-berry" ( NASB), as did the 1917 Jewish Publication Society version ( JPS).

The berries (abiyyonot) were eaten, as appears from their liability to tithes and to the restrictions of the 'Orlah. They are carefully distinguished in the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 and the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

from the shoots, temarot, and the floral envelopes, ḳapperisin; and declared to be the fruit of the ẓalef or caper plant. But the caper of present-day commerce, the flower bud, which is now eaten pickled, is not mentioned in the Talmud at all.

External links


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