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Capparis (caper genus)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid II > Order: Brassicales > Family: Capparaceae

About 250 species (tropics and subtropics worldwide), of which seven are native to southern Africa and an additional species is cultivated in the region. Capers are the unopened buds of Capparis spinosa (Caper bush). This species is native to Asia Minor and the Mediterranean region and has not been recorded as being cultivated in southern Africa.

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Capparis brassii


Capparis erythrocarpos

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. See Flora of Zimbabwe.


Capparis fascicularis

See Flora of Zimbabwe.


Capparis hereroensis


Capparis sepiaria

See Flora of Zimbabwe.


Capparis tomentosa (Woolly caper bush)

See Flora of Zimbabwe. The roots and stems are popular in southern African traditional medicine and used for various conditions such as malaria, rheumatism, insanity, snake-bite, jaundice, headache, cough, pneumonia, tuberculosis and leprosy. This plant is also used to prevent abortion and treat infertility (van Wyk & Gericke 2000). However, this species evidently can be poisonous.


Capparis viminea

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. See Flora of Zimbabwe.


Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

Information from Glen (2002).

Capparis flexuosa

Native to Indonesia.



  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • van Wyk, B.-E. & Gericke, N. 2000. People's plants. Briza Publications, Pretoria.


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