Ziziphus jujuba
Common name: 
Chinese Date
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.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, summer

    plant habit, summer

  • young shoots

    young shoots

  • young leaves

    young leaves

  • flowers


  • plant habit, fruiting

    plant habit, fruiting

  • developing fruit

    developing fruit

  • ripening fruit

    ripening fruit

  • young tree and trunk (with lichens), winter

    young tree and trunk (with lichens), winter

  • older tree and trunk, winter

    older tree and trunk, winter

  • winter twigs and buds

    winter twigs and buds