Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Ziziphus jujuba ( Chinese Jujube )
Also called Chinese Date. A fast growing, spiny, stocky, dense, medium-sized tree native to a wide range from southern Europe to much of China. With good pruning and training, this becomes a very attractive landscape tree reaching up to 40 feet or more. Records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 4 + feet; 3 years - 18 feet; largest on record - 62 x 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 3.5 feet.
The toothed, oblong leaves are up to 3 x 1.7 inches in size. The foliage is glossy deep green; turning to golden-yellow during autumn.
The tiny, creamy white flowers are borne in small axilliary clusters in late spring.
These are followed by plum like, deep red fruits up to an inch long, each with a single stone seed inside. The fruits are edible and can be candied, dried, preserved or eaten fresh. A single tree can bear up to 30 pounds of fruit in a year though up to 100 pounds have been reported on exceptional trees.
The bark is rough and light gray.
Hardy zones 5 to 10 ( tolerating as low as -25 F with no damage and surviving as low as -28 F ) Seed source from Inner Mongolia province in China should be tested in zone 4 or colder. It is tolerant of severe heat / drought and also clay and urban conditions.

* photos taken on 4th of July 2010 in Washington, D.C.

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 in Washington, DC

* historic archive photos

* photo taken on Sep 3 2017 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

A thornless clone with fruit up to 2 inches in length. Has excellent potential as a hardy urban tree.

Self pollinating with fruits up to 2 inches in length.

Ziziphus lotus ( Lotus Fruit )
A small to medium size, deciduous shrub to 6 feet that is native to northern Africa. The largest on record is only 17 feet. It bears small, edible, dark yellow, round fruits up to 0.5 inches across on tangled, thorny branches. A drink can be made from the edible fruits. Hardy zones 10 to 12.

* photos of unknown source on internet

* historic archive photo

Ziziphus mauritanicus ( Indian Plum )
A fast growing, medium-sized tree reaching 40 feet or more. Some records include: fastest growth rate - trunk diameter increase of 0.5 inches; 4 years - 20 feet; largest on record - 66 x 60 feet with a trunk diameter of 2.5 feet.
The rounded leaves are up to 3.2 x 3.2 inches in size.
The glossy deep green foliage can be deciduous or evergreen depending on climate.
Trees bear 5,000 to 10,000 small fruits per year in India. Superior grafted trees may yield as many as 30,000 fruits. The best cultivar in India yields up to 175 lbs annually
This tree is extremely hardy, can tolerate extreme heat as well as soil PH up to 9.
Hardy zones 9 to 11, it can tolerate temperatures as high as 122 F. It has been known to survive on as little as 5 inches of rain in a single year ( prefers 24 + inches ) with its deep taproot helping it survive drought.
A thornless variety has excellent potential as a dry climate urban shade tree.

* photo of unknown source on internet

Ziziphus mucronulata ( Buffalo Thorn )
A small tree to 20 feet with the largest ever recorded being only 40 x 45 feet. It is also fast growing, reaching as much as 20 feet in only 4 years. The leaves are up to 3 inches in length and the twigs are thorny. The fruits are deep red and while not very tasty, are very nutritious.
It has distinctive zigzag branchlets, and straight or hooked thorns.
The bark is a red-brown later becoming roughly mottled grey and cracked into small rectangular blocks.
Hardy north to zone 9; it is tolerant of intense heat and can survive on as little as 18 inches of yearly annual rainfall.
Thornless varieties exists and show excellent potential for urban shade in dry climates.

Ziziphus obtusifolia ( Texas Jujube )
Also called Graythorn, Lotebush or Condalia obtusifolia. A thorny, deciduous, large shrub or small tree ( if trained ) native from California to Oklahoma and central Texas. The largest on record is only 26 x 20 feet with a trunk diameter of 0.8 feet.
The narrow, oblong leaves, up to 1.3 inches in length, are gray-green.
The small, bright yellowish-green flowers are borne during late spring.
They are followed by showy, elliptical, bluish-black berries, up to 0.8 x 0.3 inches in size. The berries are great for attracting birds.
Hardy zones 7 to 11 in full sun to partial shade on well drained soil, this extremely drought and heat tolerant tree shows much potential for use in dry climates.

Ziziphus spina-christi ( Crown of Thorns )
A small evergreeen tree to 25 feet or more that is native to the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. It is long lived and of moderate growth rate and the largest ever recorded is 66 x 31 feet with a trunk diameter of 1 foot. The trunk on this tree is commonly twisted.
Oval leaves up to 3 x 1.5 inches cover the upright, thorny branches.
The flowers are small and woolly but are borne in large axilliary clusters.
Small, shiny black fruits follow the flowers.
Hardy zones 6 to 10 tolerating as low as -15 F; this extremely drought tolerant tree thrives in regions with from 4 to 20 inches of yearly rainfall.

* historic archive photo

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