The use of floral characters in Capparis sect. Capparis to determine the botanical and geographical origin of capers
- Cite this article as:
- Inocencio, C., Alcaraz, F., Calderón, F. et al. Eur Food Res Technol (2002) 214: 335. doi:10.1007/s00217-001-0465-y
Capers of commerce are flower buds of Capparis species, most of them presumably of the species C. spinosa and they are considered as such in international food legislation. However, in the Mediterranean countries of Europe, Asia, and North Africa, that are the main producers of capers, four different species have been detected in the commercial product: C. spinosa, C. sicula, C. orientalis and C. aegyptia. In this paper the study of morphological characters, easily detectable under optical microscope (number of stamens, anther shape, and morphology of nectary) has proven to be a simple and cheap technique to recognize the presence of the above-mentioned species in commercial capers and the relative percentages of each, this being a good indicator of the most likely geographical origin.