ZIZ-i-fus joo-JOO-ba (joo-JOOB)
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Broadleaf deciduous shrub or tree, to about 30 ft (~9 m) tall, flexible twigs with curved or straight spines (thorns). Leaves alternate, simple, leathery, oval-lanceolate to elliptic, 2.5-6 cm long, apex rounded or obtuse, 3-veined at base, glabrous, margin with rounded teeth (crenate); petiole 1-5 mm long. Flowers small, yellow, 1-3 per cluster; bloom occurs in late spring to early summer. Fruit 1.5-2.5 cm long, ovate-oblong, dark red then black, contains a single hard olive-like seed; fruit edible, date-like when dried.
- Sun to light shade, not particular about the soil if well-drained, does well in semi-arid conditions.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 6 Native to temperate Asia but naturalized elsewhere.
- Cultivated for its fruits in warmer climates. Hundreds of cultivars have been developed; two common ones available in the U.S. are 'Lang' and 'Li'.
- Sunset Western Garden Book points out that its fruit may not ripen fully in cool-summer areas. In this case pick the half-brown fruit and ripen indoors.
- Silverton, Oregon: The Oregon Garden.