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Jujube, Chinese Date, or Tsao(棗) is a small deciduous tree of the Buckthorn family that can reach 30 or 40 feet in height. It originated in China, where it has been grown for over 4,000 years. The tree is ornamental, with shiny-green leaves, and sometimes thorns. The many inconspicuous flowers are small, greenish or white, and produce an olive-sized fruit that is a drupe.

The early-picked fruit is smooth-green, and resembles the consistency and taste of an apple, but as it matures more, the color darkens to purplish-black and it becomes quite wrinkled, when it tastes like a date, hence the name Chinese date. There is a single hard stone, similar to an olive pit.

The tree tolerates a wide range of temperatures, and does well in very hot summers, and in fairly cold winters. Its scientific name is Ziziphus jujuba.


Fruits in Warm Climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL: 1987.

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