Jujube, a name given to species of zizyphus, especially Z. vulgaris, a small tree, native of

Jujube 0900785Jujube (Zizyphus vulgaris).

Jujube (Zizyphus vulgaris).

Asia, belonging to the rhamnacea or buckthorn family. The Arabic name of the tree is zizuf, from which is derived the generic name, and probably also jujube through the French. In its native country it is a tree 20 or 30 ft. high, but it will bear fruit when only a shrub; it has prickly branches, oval, thick, shining leaves, inconspicuous greenish flowers, and a fruit of the shape of an olive, but not quite so large, which in ripening turns yellow and then red; the fruit contains a single bony nut surrounded by a fleshy pulp, which is somewhat acid when fresh, but when dried is sweet and agreeable to the taste. In the East the fruit is eaten both fresh and dried; it is considered as mildly medicinal, and a sirup and a paste of jujubes are used in Europe for coughs and catarrhs; the true jujube paste is made of the pulps of jujubes, gum arabic, and sugar, but that which is sold under the name is merely gelatine and sugar,. sometimes with a little tartaric acid and flavoring. The tree has fruited in Georgia, and would probably be hardy further north; aside from its fruit, it is worth cultivating, where the climate will allow, on account of its graceful habit and fine foliage.

The Chinese cultivate several varieties of Z. jujuba, the fruit of which, known to foreigners as Chinese dates, is much esteemed by them. Z. lotos is one of several plants supposed to be the lotus of the lotophagi. An African species, Z. Baclei, has a fruit which tastes like gingerbread.