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The Cliffs

Interpretation Centre

Blooming Caper flowers and traditional Caper picking – 04/07/2019

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The Caper Bush is synonymous with summer time, when the evergreen shrub produces large white flowers with purple stamens.


The Spineless Caper (Capparis spinosa, Kappar) is indigenous, hence its presence is natural in the Maltese Islands. It is found commonly on garrigue habitats, rock faces, along crevices within walls and even in disturbed areas.


This plant is well-adapted to thriving in the Mediterranean climate. The root system is extensive with the ability to extract waters and minerals from soils. The thick, fleshy leaves offer good storage for water, and less water is lost by transpiration.


The flowering of the caper bush is also ideal for pollination, since during this time, few are the flowers which are in bloom. The plant uses insects to pollinate it and birds to help spread its seeds.


It is also thought that capers have medicinal properties, with anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and astringent properties.


The traditional caper hand-picking involves collecting the flower bud before it opens, then pickling and using in the culinary traditions of the Maltese Islands. With pickling in vinegar and/or salt, intense flavour is developed since mustard oil is released from each bud. At The Cliffs, Capers are featured as accompaniments in several dishes, ranging from starters, refreshing platters and salads, and even in seasonal specialities.


Capers are also encountered during our summer evening eco-walks. For more information, check out our related webpage at