1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Capers
CAPERS, the unexpanded flower-buds of Capparis spinosa, prepared with vinegar for use as a pickle. The caper plant is a trailing shrub, belonging to the Mediterranean region, resembling in habit the common bramble, and having handsome flowers of a pinkish white, with four petals, and numerous long tassel-like stamens. The leaves are simple and ovate, with spiny stipules. The plant is cultivated in Sicily and the south of France; and in commerce capers are valued according to the period at which the buds are gathered and preserved. The finest are the young tender buds called “nonpareil,” after which, gradually increasing in size and lessening in value, come “superfine,” “fine,” “capucin” and “capot.” Other species of Capparis are similarly employed in various localities, and in some cases the fruit is pickled.