Common jujube (Ziziphus jujuba)
The common jujube is either a deciduous tree growing to a height of 12 meters (40 feet) or a large shrub, depending upon where it grows and how much water is
available for growth. Its branches are usually spiny with shiny-green, oval leaves with three veins at the base and finely toothed. Its reddish-brown to yellowish-green fruit is oblong to ovoid, 3 centimeters (1 inch) or less in diameter, smooth, and sweet in flavor, but with a rather dry pulp around a comparatively large stone. When mature, the fruit turns brown to purplish-black and wrinkles looking like a small date. Its small flowers are green or yellowish-green.
Where to Find: The jujube is found in forested areas of temperate regions and in desert scrub and waste areas worldwide. It requires hot summers and plenty of water for proper fruit production. It is common in many of the tropical and subtropical areas of the Old World. In Africa, it is found mainly bordering the Mediterranean. In Asia, it is especially common in the drier parts of India and China. The jujube is also found throughout the East Indies. It can be found bordering some desert areas.
Edible Parts: The fruit is edible. The pulp, crushed in water, makes a refreshing beverage. If time permits, you can dry the ripe fruit in the sun like dates. Its fruit is high in vitamins A and C. Asian cultures believe fruit can be used to alleviate stress and traditionally for antifungal, antibacterial, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, sedative, antifertility/contraception, and wound healing properties.
Other Uses: In Bhutan, the leaves are used as a potpourri and to keep bugs and insects out of the house. In Korea, the wood is used to make the body of a reeded wind instrument.