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.