World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000516020
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ziziphus  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Rhamnaceae, List of flora of the Lower Colorado River Valley, Guglielmo il Giuggiola, Farmer-managed natural regeneration, Ziziphus abyssinica
Collection: Ziziphus
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Ziziphus jujuba, by Adolphus Ypey
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Tribe: Paliureae
Genus: Ziziphus
Mill., 1768
Type species
Ziziphus jujuba

See text


Condaliopsis (Weberb.) Suess.
Sarcomphalus P.Browne[2]

Ziziphus [3] is a genus of about 40 species of spiny shrubs and small trees in the buckthorn family, Rhamnaceae, distributed in the warm-temperate and subtropical regions throughout the world. The leaves are alternate, entire, with three prominent basal veins, and 2–7 cm (0.79–2.76 in) long; some species are deciduous, others evergreen. The flowers are small, inconspicuous yellow-green. The fruit is an edible drupe, yellow-brown, red, or black, globose or oblong, 1–5 cm (0.39–1.97 in) long, often very sweet and sugary, reminiscent of a date in texture and flavour.


  • Overview 1
  • Ecology 2
  • Uses 3
  • Mythology 4
  • Selected species 5
    • Fossil species 5.1
  • Gallery 6
  • References 7


The generic name is derived from zizfum or zizafun, the Persian word for Z. lotus.[4] They are Rhamnaceae, near to the Buckthorn genus.


Ziziphus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Bucculatrix zizyphella, which feeds exclusively on the genus, and Endoclita malabaricus.

Well known species includes Z. jujuba (Jujube), Z. spina-christi from southwestern Asia, Z. lotus from the Mediterranean region, and Ber (Ziziphus mauritiana), which is found from western Africa to India. Ziziphus joazeiro grows in the Caatinga of Brazil. Ziziphus celata is listed as an endangered species in the United States.

The fruits are an important source for birds, that eat the whole fruit and regurgitate seeds intact, expanding the seeds in the best conditions for germination (ornitochory). Secondly, the seed dispersal is carried out by mammalians or fishes. The fruit is energy-rich because of the large amount of sugar it contains. It is cultivated and eaten fresh, dry, and in jam. They also get added as a base in meals and in the manufacture of candy. The leaves can be either deciduous or evergreen depending on species, and aromatic.

They are temperate or tropical plants, having a great range. They are most abundant in annual average temperatures between 12 and 35°C, minimum winter temperatures not lower than -2 °C. Prefers locations with a high temperature coupled with humidity. They require a deep soil, fresh, soft, siliceous-calcareous nature or limestone-clay-silica-clay and subsurface permeable, with pH between 5.5 and 7.8. they not grow well on excessively sandy or clay soils which may be affected by standing water, the plants acquire a limited development. Many species are very sensitive to drought, and if the land is excessively dry and of calcareous nature, may resent the lack of moisture. At the slightest drought is frequent premature fruit drop. Ziziphus has several relict species living in temperate areas. The species can not enduring the bad winter, from temperate continental climate.

The ecological requirements of the genus, are mostly those of vigorous species with a great ability to populate the habitat that is conducive. This genus is adapted mostly to high rainfall and humidity, but some species are deciduous living in mediterranean humid climate. The deciduous Ziziphus species lose all of their leaves for part of the year depending on variations in rainfall. In deciduous tropical species, leaf loss coincides with the dry season in tropical, subtropical and arid regions. They grow mostly in tropical forests but has also been found in stubbles, pastures, in the coastal ranges, tropical mountain areas and interior in wet areas to dry regions. The family is distributed throughout tropical, subtropical areas, and cloud forest.

The differences are ecological adaptations to different environments over a relatively dry-wet climate. Species in less humid environment are smaller or less robust, with less abundant and thinner foliage and have oleifera cells that give trees with a more fragrant aroma.


In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), suan zao ren (Ziziphus spinosa) is considered to be sweet and sour in taste, and neutral in action. It is believed to nourish the heart yin, augment the liver blood, and calm the spirit (TCM medical terms). It is used to treat irritability, insomnia and heart palpitations.


The mythological lotus tree which occurs in Homer's Odyssey is often equated with Z. lotus, though the date palm is also a possible candidate.

Selected species

List Sources:[5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Fossil species

† = Extinct



  1. ^ "Ziziphus Mill.". TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Database. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Ziziphus Mill.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2004-02-10. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  3. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  4. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. 4 R-Z. Taylor & Francis US. p. 2876.  
  5. ^ "Query Results for Genus Ziziphus".  
  6. ^ "GRIN Species Records of Ziziphus".  
  7. ^ "Classificação segundo a Flora brasiliensis" (in Portuguese).  
  8. ^ "Ziziphus species list".  
  9. ^ The Biodiversity Committee of the  
  10. ^ query results"Ziziphus"Flora Europaea: .  
  11. ^ "Ziziphus".  
  12. ^ Geological Survey professional paper, Issue 165: Shorter Contributions to General Geology. US Govt. Printing Office. 1930. p. 73. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.