Zygophyllum fabago

Common name: Syrian Bean Caper Family: Zygophyllaceae
Author: Wall. Botanical references: 50, 200
Known Hazards: None known
Range: S.E. Europe. N. Africa to W. Asia – Syria to Afghanistan.
Habitat: Dry places50.
Edibility Rating (1-5): 1 Medicinal Rating (1-5): 0
Other Possible Synonyms: From various places across the web, may not be correct. See below.
Z. fabago var. brachycarpumG Z. fabago var. brachycarpum auct. nonP
Other Common Names: From various places around the Web, may not be correct. See below.
Khennaiq Ad Dijaj E, Morsana E, Syrian Beancaper P,
Systematics: From a UDSA Plants Database
Order: Sapindales. Creosote-bush family
Other Range Info: From the Ethnobotany Database
Iraq; Spain
Noxious, Invasive and Injurious Weeds From UDSA PLANTS database, Weeds Australia , DEFRA Injurious Weeds
Listed as noxious/invasive for: California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington.

Physical Characteristics

Perennial growing to 1.2m. It is hardy to zone 8. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). The plant not is self-fertile. We rate it 1/5 for edibility and 0/5 for medicinal use.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Habitats and Possible Locations

Cultivated Beds, By Walls, By East Wall.

Edible Uses


The flower buds are pickled and used as a caper substitute

2, 103, 105, 183.

Medicinal Uses

None known

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Requires a sunny position in a dry very well-drained soil1. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c200. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.


Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.