The first time I ever saw these flowers was when we moved into the house we live in now. They grow wild in a couple places against the walls of the house, and along the driveway. They have vicious, curved thorns like tiny cat's claws, that grab on to your clothes and skin if you brush too close to them. The thorns are so sharp they will even go through a leather glove. But the plant it self is beautiful, with purple stems and neat green leaves. The flowers are spectacular. My husband and in-laws were always asking me why I didn't cut them down, but most of the time I let them grow because they are so beautiful. And because every time I did try to cut them down I got stabbed a few times. There is one bush that is so big that it practically takes over one section of the walkway at the back of our house, so I have to cut it down occasionally so that people can get past it without getting snagged. Last fall, after I cut it back and got a few thorns in my hands, I decided to kill that one. Fat chance! I poured a couple tea pots full of boiling water into the crack where it's roots grow between the house and the sidewalk. This spring it came back as if nothing had happened! They are tough plants. No matter how many times I cut them to the ground, they just come back. And they seem to only grow next to rocks. I don't think I have ever seen one growing in open soil, they are always up against or between rocks and walls. There is even one growing out of a wall beside my front door. I think it has its roots into the well that is under the front veranda. I have been trying to get rid of that thing for nearly 10 years. A few months ago I downloaded the PDF version of The Subjective Atlas of Palestine, and finally learned its name. It is called a Common Caper! This is the plant whose buds are pickled and sold in jars. I have never had capers before. You can read all about them on Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages or this page. And if you like to cook, especially if you sometimes learn recipes with the names in languages other than English, you should check out Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages and bookmark it. He has a page for every herb or spice I have ever heard of plus lots I never heard of, and each one has a detailed description, pictures of the plant and the name in many languages. And you can search according to a phonetic spelling of the Arabic name.
Beautiful Traditional Qatt Art
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