Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Ziziphus mauritiana Lam.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Lamarck, J.B.A.P.Monnet de (1797) Encyclopedique Methodique, Botanique 3: 319. Type: .. lIsle de France ..

Common name

Common Jujube; Apple, Chinee; Indian Jujube; Chinee Apple; Jujube, Common; Jujube, Indian


Occasionally grows into a small tree but usually flowers and fruits as a shrub.


Leaf blades about 40-55 x 30-40 mm, petioles about 0.7-0.8 cm long. Upper surface of the leaf blade +/- glabrous but underside densely clothed in pale matted hairs. Stipules spiny, about 0.5-3 mm long, often one spine straight and the other recurved.


Inflorescence short, not exceeding the leaves, scarcely exceeding the petioles. Pedicel and calyx densely pubescent, calyx lobes about 1.5-2 mm long, petals spoon-shaped, about 0.5-0.75 mm long, almost enclosing the anthers until anthesis. Ovary +/- immersed in a fleshy disk.


Fruits globular, about 15-20 mm diam. Seeds one or two, enclosed in a hard endocarp about 1 mm thick. Outer surface of the endocarp rugose.


Cotyledons +/- orbicular or obcordate, about 15-16 mm diam., petioles about 8-15 mm long. First pair of leaves lanceolate, +/- three-veined, margins toothed. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade margins toothed with about 25 teeth on each side, 3-veined, underside clothed in fine, short, scattered hairs. Stipules spiny, about 3-10 mm long, one stipule of each pair usually longer than the other. Seed germination time 32 to 103 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from tropical Asia now naturalised in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 400 m. Often grows in open forest particularly in disturbed areas around old settlements but also found in monsoon forest and vine thickets.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties.

Although primarily a food plant this species has been used extensively also in medicine. Fruits are regarded as tonic, and are an ingredient of a medicine used in chest complaints. Cribb (1981).

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