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This shrubby perennial plant grows 3-5 feet high, with numerous branches, bearing a pair of hooked spines at the base of each leaf stalk. Leaves are alternate, round to ovate, thick, and glistening. Flowers are about 2 inches in diameter, white with numerous violet stamens, and very pleasing in appearance. Seeds are large, kidney shaped, and gray-brown in color. Where native, plants grow spontaneously in cracks and crevices of rocks and stone walls. Plants grow well in nutrient poor sharply-drained gravelly soils. Mature plants develop large extensive root systems that penetrate deeply into the earth. Capers are salt-tolerant and flourish along shores within sea-spray zones. The caper's vegetative canopy covers soil surfaces which helps to conserve soil water reserves. Flowers are born on first-year branches. Capers of commerce are immature flower buds which have been pickled in vinegar or preserved in granular salt. Semi-mature fruits (caperberries) and young shoots with small leaves may also be pickled for use as a condiment. Smaller buds (both with less than one centimeter diameter) are considered more valuable than the larger (more than 1" diameter). Caper fruits preserved in the same manner, are rarely traded. Their flavour is very intensive. Capers have a sharp piquant flavor and add pungency, a peculiar aroma and saltiness to comestibles such as pasta sauces, pizza, fish, meats and salads. The flavor of caper may be described as being similar to that of mustard and black pepper. Capers are said to reduce flatulence and to be anti-rheumatic in effect. In ayurvedeic medicine capers (Capers=Himsra) are recorded as hepatic stimulants and protectors, improving liver function. Capers have reported uses for arteriosclerosis, as diuretics, kidney disinfectants, vermifuges and tonics. Infusions and decoctions from caper root bark have been traditionally used for dropsy, anemia, arthritis and gout. Capers contain considerable amounts of the anti-oxidant bioflavinoid rutin. Caper extracts and pulps have been used in cosmetics, but there has been reported contact dermatitis and sensitivity from their use. Plants are grown from seed and by vegetative cuttings.
Mostly a robust woody climber but occasionally a shrub or small tree, armed with sharp, paired, hooked thorns. Flowers quite showy, yellowish-green with a mass of long white or pinkish stamens.
Medium sized vine-like shrub that will climb if given support. This species is a rank-growing, straggly, woody, climbing shrub, usually growing to 10 or 15 ft ,high and sometimes ascending to the tops of tall trees. Rich in white, gummy latex. The karanda is more cold-tolerant than the carissa, is fairly hardy and will survive to 25F. Plants are salt tolerant and can be trained into hedges. It is most fruitful on deep, fertile, well-drained soil but if the soil is too wet, there will be excessive vegetative growth and lower fruit production. The sweeter types may be eaten raw out-of-hand but the more acid ones are best stewed with plenty of sugar. The unripe fruit is used medicinally as an astringent. The ripe fruit is taken as an antiscorbutic and remedy for biliousness. Propagation is usually by seed because cuttings have never rooted readily.
It was first introduced into the United States in 1886 by the horticulturist Theodore L. Meade.
Fragrant star-like flowers and edible fruit. The oval fruit with tender, smooth skin turns to a bright magenta-red to dark-crimson, must be fully ripe and slightly soft to the touch to be eaten raw. Thorns make Carissa an excellent plant for barriers. Makes a good container specimen or bonsai.
Carissa is subtropical plant, thriving throughout Florida and enduring temperatures as low as 25 F when well-established. Young plants need protection when the temperature drops below 29F. The plant has moderate drought tolerance and high resistance to soil salinity and salt spray.
The Carnegiea gigantea is one of the defining plants of the Sonoran Desert. These plants are large, tree-like columnar cacti that develop branches (or arms) as they age, although some never grow arms.