CAPER (Heb. צָלָף; ẓalaf), the shrub Capparis spinosa, which grows wild in Israel in rocky places, as well as in old stone walls, including the Western Wall.
The personal name Zalaph occurs in the Bible (Neh. 3:30). The caper's fruit, the evyonah, is mentioned in Ecclesiastes 12:5 as a symbol of shortness of man's life, because very soon after it blossoms, the fruit scatters its seeds and the plant withers; "The almond-tree shall blossom… and the caperberry shall fail; Because man goeth to his long home…." Frequently mentioned in aggadah and halakhah, the caper was grown for its edible flowerbuds, the kafrisin, as also for its young fruit, which was eaten after being
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.