The Jujube tree (Ziziphus zizyphus) is also known as the Chinese date, red date, or just Jujube. It grows as a small to medium sized tree or shrub reaching 15’ – 20’ tall and 10’ – 15’ wide. With regular water it can add 2’ – 3’ of growth annually. The leaves are a glossy-green so it makes a very beautiful canopy. Branches usually have spines approximately 1 inch in length. Flowers are produced in spring and summer on branches throughout the tree.
The Jujube tree produces a small fruit that varies in size depending upon variety. Fruits can be round to oblong or egg shaped. At maturity, fruits are brown skinned and look like little apples. Fruits may be eaten at this time and are similar to an apple but less sweet and juicy. After the season’s first frosts the fruits shrivel and turn a darker reddish brown. The shriveled fruits are typically sweeter and chewier, resembling “dates”. Jujube fruits have elongated seeds that resemble those of dates.
With the onset of fall Jujube foliage shows little color change or sometimes a bit of yellow. It is more common for Jujube leaves to continue growth until the first frosts. At that time leaves die and appear dehydrated while still attached to the tree. Winds will then take them from the tree.
After leaf fall you can observe the crooked branch structure,
which gives them winter interest especially if some fruits remain attached.
The Jujube tree is a nice ornamental that grows well in the high desert climate. They are best grown with low to regular water and tolerate most soils. Jujubes are hardy to USDA zone 5. They are very heat and drought tolerant.
Contact Trees That Please Nursery for more information and pricing.
Photos & Narrative By:Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist