Genus of the Week
Week of Feb. 1-7
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the
context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of
all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you should also visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes
, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.
This week's genus:
Number of Species: 8
The genus Capparis is perhaps best known for the species C. spinosa, from which
the unopened flower buds are harvested and called "capers". Long before they were used to
create fancy appetizers and to garnish smoked salmon, they were eaten as an appetite stimulant.
There is some dispute as to whether what has been referred to in the Old Testament as "Hyssop"
was a member of the Lamiaceae (the Mints), or was actually C. spinosa, which is known
in the Middle East as "azaf".
Here are some links to images and information concerning the genus Capparis:
- Visit the Native Plants of South Florida web site to see an image and description of the
Jamaican Caper tree, C. cynophallophora, which grows in Central America and Florida.
- Plant VIruses Online has information about several different Capparis species and
the viruses they
are associated with.
- Stop by the Aloha Fresh Flowers web site to see a beautiful photo of
C. sandwichiana ("Pua=pilo"), a night-blooming species of Capparis.
- From the Italian site "Herbs and Spices" come
dozens of recipes using Capers.
- The Botanical Dermatology Database has information about the
irritating chemicals released by several Capparis species.
- Genders, Roy. Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Natural Foods. New York, van der Marck Editions: 1988.
- Grieve, M. (C. F. Leyel, ed.). A Modern Herbal. London, Tiger Books International: 1973.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
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