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Capparis spinosa. Dead Sea, Israel. Capparaceae

Ecclesiastes 12:5a- when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets.

Caper, Capparis spinosa, is one of the most common shrubs in the Middle East and Mediterranean region. It is unusual in that it loses its leaves during the rainy seasons and retains them during the dry season. The caper of commerce is the immature flower bud. Flowers of the caper are large and showy and produce a berry like fruit. It has a shape somewhat resembling a human testis. According to the "Doctrine of Signatures," it will affect the body part it resembles and therefore was used as an aphrodisiac.

The almond produces masses of white flowers, no doubt in this verse an allusion to white hair of old age. The word translated desire in this version (New International) is translated "caper" in other translations and is probably a reference to a decline in sexual appetite as a result of aging.

For more on caper, see the treatment of "Hyssop."

Capparis spinosa. Immature fruits. Capparaceae Capparis spinosa. Wall, Jerusalem. Capparaceae Capparis spinosa. Jerusalem. Capparaceae Capparis spinosa. Capparaceae Capparis spinosa. Wall, Jerusalem. Capparaceae Capparis spinosa. On basalt wall. Bet Shean, Israel. Capparaceae Capparis spinosa. Buds which are the source of commercial capers. Capparaceae Capparis spinosa. Fruits, Anjara, Jordan. Capparaceae Capparis spinosa. Mature fruits, Anjara, Jordan. Capparaceae