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Vascular Plants of California
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Ziziphus zizyphus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: RhamnaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: [Perennial herb] shrub, tree, generally erect, often thorny. Leaf: simple, generally alternate, often clustered on short-shoots; stipules generally present, occasionally modified into spines; generally petioled; blade pinnate-veined or 1--5-ribbed from base. Inflorescence: cyme, panicle, umbel, or flowers 1 or clustered in axils or on short-shoots. Flower: generally bisexual, radial; hypanthium subtending, surrounding, or partly fused to ovary; sepals 4--5; petals 0, 4--5, generally clawed; stamens 0, 4--5, alternate sepals, attached to hypanthium top, each generally fitting into a petal concavity; disk (0 or) between stamens, ovary, thin to fleshy, entire or lobed, free from ovary, adherent or fused to hypanthium; ovary superior or +- inferior, chambers [1]2--4, 1--2-ovuled, style 1, stigma entire or 2--3-lobed. Fruit: capsule, drupe.
Genera In Family: 50--52 genera, 950 species: especially tropics, subtropics some cultivated (Ceanothus; Frangula; Rhamnus; Ziziphus).
eFlora Treatment Author: John O. Sawyer, Jr., except as noted
Scientific Editor: Steve Boyd, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ZiziphusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Tree, shrub [vine]. Stem: branches alternate, flexible or stiff, +- 2--3-ranked; twigs +- pendent, zigzag. Leaf: clustered on short-shoots or not, deciduous or not, petioled; stipules +- spine-like or not, unequal; blade elliptic to obovate, +- entire to serrate, 1--5-ribbed from base. Inflorescence: cyme or small panicle. Flower: hypanthium surrounding base of ovary; sepals 5; petals 5, < to > sepals; stamens 5; disk thick, +- obscuring ovary in early flower; ovary widely attached at base, chambers 2, each 1-ovuled, stigma 2-lobed. Fruit: drupe, stone 1.
Species In Genus: 100 species: generally tropics. Etymology: (Latin: from Arabic "zizouf," common jujube, Ziziphus zizyphus)
eFlora Treatment Author: John O. Sawyer, Jr.
Reference: Islam & Simmons 2006 Syst Bot 31:826--842
Unabridged Reference: Johnston 1963 Amer J Bot 50:1020--1027
Ziziphus zizyphus (L.) H. Karst.
Habit: Tree, < 12 m. Stem: bark gray to black, shaggy; twigs pendent, zigzag. Leaf: deciduous; blade 25--60 mm, elliptic to obovate, +- leathery, bright green, shiny adaxially, paler, dull abaxially, margin serrate. Inflorescence: 2--8-flowered clusters at nodes on twigs. Flower: hypanthium 2--2.2 mm wide, green; sepals < petals, both yellow; stamens < petals; pistil green. Fruit: Fleshy, red.
Ecology: Occasional garden escape; Elevation: 270 m. Bioregional Distribution: n SNF, n ScV; Distribution Outside California: United States, Old World. Flowering Time: May--Jul Note: Correct name could become Ziziphus jujuba Mill.
Synonyms: Ziziphus jujuba Mill.
Unabridged Note: A proposal (1753; Kirkbride et al. 2006 Taxon 55:1049--1050) has been made to conserve Ziziphus jujuba against Ziziphus zizyphus, but until such time as that proposal is given final approval, the nomenclaturally correct name for Ziziphus jujuba Mill., nom. cons. prop. is Ziziphus zizyphus (L.) H. Karst. nom. rej. prop. Ziziphus mauritiana Lam. reported from California in error (USDA Plants Database).
Jepson eFlora Author: John O. Sawyer, Jr.
Reference: Islam & Simmons 2006 Syst Bot 31:826--842
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: John O. Sawyer, Jr. 2012, Ziziphus zizyphus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 27, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 27, 2022.

No expert verified images found for Ziziphus zizyphus.

Geographic subdivisions for Ziziphus zizyphus:
n SNF, n ScV
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).