Caperberry, Caper-Berry

See also Caperberry

CAPERBERRY, CAPER-BERRY, a low trailing shrub found throughout the Mediterranean coastal region. The flower bud has been used since antiquity as a spice, and many classical authors indicate that the berry or small white blossom was commonly used as an aphrodisiac and a condiment. The plant is identified as Capparis spinosa and is known in classical Heb. as אֲבִיּﯴנָ֑ה, which appears only in Ecclesiastes 12:5. The context is the graphic description of old age given by the “preacher” in which various natural associations are used for fig. effect. The text undoubtedly uses “caperberry” in the sense of its enhancement of sexual desire which in the declining years of man’s life fails. The KJV followed by the RSV incorrectly reads “desire” while the JPS correctly reads “caperberry.”

Bibliography Löw, I. Die Flora der Juden I (1924), 322-331.