Jujuba, Chinese date, or Ziziphus jujuba, is a small to medium tree from Asia that does very well in warm weather regions such as the southern half of the US, Australia, and New Zealand. It is deciduous with an open, airy form that is tossed about in light breezes making for a pretty effect as the shiny leaf undersides flash silver. And these same handsome leaves develop a bright, clear yellow in autumn as well. There is a spring bloom as well, consisting of small, yellow flowers which are pretty as well as fragrant, but modestly hidden in the foliage. But in summer fruits develop that are quite ornamental and delicious, if you can beat the wildlife to them. These one-inch-long fruits, when immature, are smooth-green. They mature to dark red to purplish-black and eventually wrinkle and resemble a small date with the consistency and taste of an apple. There is a single hard stone similar to an olive pit. The fruit can be eaten fresh, candied, canned, or dried, as one would dates. They are produced even on young trees, as young as two-years but they can be messy around pavement, so site accordingly.
The Jujuba tree grows steadily to 20 to 35 feet and is naturally multi-trunked but can be trained to a single trunk. It is pest and disease free and quite tolerant of soils. It has a wide adaptation range, tolerating all but the coldest winter-weather regions meaning the southern half of the United States and UK and particularly Australia. It is a fruit that is easy to grow, requires no spraying and is delicious to eat plus a source of food for wildlife.

As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.



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