Indian Jujube (Ziziphus mauritiana)
Perfect for growing in arid areas, the fast-growing evergreen Indian Jujube rocks drought-tolerant, fire-resistant qualities and vigorous re-sprouting behaviors. You can prune it as a shrub or let it grow to a full sized tree reaching up to 40 ft. tall.
From the Rhamnaceae family, the Indian Jujube comes from a large family of variable drupes. It is a close relative in the Rosales order, which include Rubus, apple, pear, and strawberry plants. Their trunks bear droopy, shiny leaves next to their grey-to-black spiky trunks. In September, you’ll find the tree full of ornamental yellow 5-petal flower clusters. Their nectar is beloved by bees and makes delicate, floral honey.
Begin looking for the fruits in early spring. The under-ripe Indian Jujube grows an astringent glossy-green fruit bearing subacid-to-sweet crispy, white flesh. When fully ripe, the fruit becomes yellow and mealy, eventually turning burnt orange-to-red with wrinkly skin and a musky undertone. Fresh fruit helps indigestion when combined with salt and chili pepper. Dried ripe fruit can be used as a laxative. Fruits can be used as a dye for coloring silks! And the Indian Jujube’s sedative seeds can be used to help relieve nausea.