45. The Caper

It's one of the best-known wild plants in Malta, for its pickled buds if for nothing else. But culinary delights aside, the caper (kappar) is a marvelous plant in its own right and even the most indifferent observer would appreciate the beauty of its flower. Now out in their thousands, caper flowers can perhaps be best described as exploding fireworks! It's a transient beauty, however: freshly-opened in the early morning, the flowers are already wilted by noon. But in those few hours of glory most will have been visited and pollinated by bees and bugs. The caper favours vertical places like cliffs and fortifications and it's a hardy plant, perfectly adapted to our sizzling climate. But however hardy, it may not survive repeated onslaught from over-zealous people out in bud-picking frenzies - we should always show a degree of restraint when harvesting from nature.

Text and photo by Victor Falzon.

Copyright to Birdlife Malta.

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