The Hawaiian caper is native to Hawaii and is sparsely found on the main islands growing in coral and rocky soil along the coast and just slightly inland. Although there are likely thousands of plants remaining in the wild it is estimated that there has been a decline of at least 10 percent over the past decade. C. sandwichiana has been adversely affected by the development of the Hawaiian coastal and lowland areas. There is no modern use for the Hawaiian caper, but it is related to the Mediterranean caper whose small buds, caperberries are pickled in vinegar or preserved with salt for culinary uses. Traditionally this plant was used medicinally as a treatment for injuries to joints, bones and skin.