Chinese Date, Ziziphus jujube, Tree Seeds Hardy, Adaptable, Easy to Grow, Fast Growth, Edible Fruit, Fragrant Flowers, Fall Colors, Medicinal, Cold, Heat, Drought, Salt and Wind Tolerant
Ziziphus jujube or Chinese Date is a fast growing small deciduous fruiting tree or shrub reaching a height up to 35 feet, usually with thorny branches. The small oval, shiny, bright green leaves are 1 to 2 inches long and turn bright yellow before falling in the autumn. The small mildly fragrant flowers are about 1/2 inch in diameter with five inconspicuous yellowish-green petals. The tree flowers from late spring through the summer. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile. The fruit then forms in drupes, varying from round to elongate and from cherry to plum size. The edible skin surrounds white, crisp, sweet flesh with an inner stone containing two seeds. When immature the fruit is smooth-green, with the consistency and taste of an apple, maturing brown to purplish-black and eventually wrinkled, looking like a small date.
The fruit can be eaten fresh, dried like dates or cooked in puddings, cakes, breads, jellies, soups, etc. The dried fruit has the nicest taste. The fruits are often left to become wrinkled and spongy, which increases their sweetness, and are then eaten fresh or cooked. The dried fruit can also be ground into a powder. This powder is used in the preparation of 'kochujang', a fermented hot pepper-soybean paste that resembles miso. The fruit can be used as a coffee substitute.
Jujube is both a delicious fruit and an effective herbal remedy. It aids weight gain, improves muscular strength and increases stamina. In Chinese medicine it is prescribed as a tonic to strengthen liver function. Japanese research has shown that jujube increases immune-system resistance. Antidote, diuretic, emollient, expectorant. The dried fruits contain saponins, triterpenoids and alkaloids. They are anodyne, anticancer, pectoral, refrigerant, sedative, stomachic, styptic and tonic. They are considered to purify the blood and aid digestion. They are used internally in the treatment of a range of conditions including chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhea, pharyngitis, bronchitis, anemia, irritability and hysteria. The root is used in the treatment of dyspepsia. A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of fevers. The root is made into a powder and applied to old wounds and ulcers. The leaves are astringent and febrifuge. The plant is widely used in China as a treatment for burns.