Our future fruiters
Ziziphus mauritiana, also known as Chinese date, Chinae apple, jujube, Indian plum, pandu regi, Indian jujube, dunks (in Barbados) and masau, is a tropical fruit tree species belonging to the family Rhamnaceae.
Ziziphus mauritiana is a thorny evergreen shrub or small tree up to 15 m tall, with a trunk 40 cm or more in diameter; spreading crown; stipular spines and many drooping branches. The fruit is of varying shape and size. It can be oval, obovate, oblong or round, and can range from 2.5 to 6.25 cm (1-2.5 in.), Depending on the variety. The flesh is white and crispy. A little shallower, this fruit is a little juicy and has a pleasant aroma. The skin of the fruit is smooth, shiny, thin but tight.
The species is believed to be native to the Indo-Malaysian region of Southeast Asia. It is now largely naturalized in all of the Old World tropics of southern Africa across the Middle East to the Indian subcontinent and to China, Indomalaya, and Australasia and the Pacific Islands. It can form dense stands and become invasive in some areas, including Fiji and Australia, and has become a serious environmental weed in northern Australia. It is a fast-growing tree with a medium lifespan, which can quickly reach 10 to 40 feet (3 to 12 m) in height.
This fast-growing tree starts to produce fruit within three years. The fruit is a soft and juicy drupe 2.5 cm in diameter but with a sophisticated culture, the fruit size can reach 6.25 cm long and 4.5 cm wide. The shape may be oval, obovate, round or oblong; skin smooth or rough, shiny, thin but hard. The fruit matures at different times, even on one tree. The fruits are first green, turn yellow as they ripen. The fully ripe fruit is entirely red, sweet, juicy with a wrinkled skin and has a pleasant aroma. The ripe fruit has a sweet and sour taste. The texture and taste of the flesh are reminiscent of apples. When ripe, the flesh is white and crisp, acid to subacid and sweet. Ripe fruits are less crunchy and somewhat floury; overripe fruits are wrinkled, buff flesh, soft, spongy and musky. At first, the aroma is apple and pleasant, but becomes particularly musky when it is too ripe. There is a single hard, hard, oval or oblate stone, which contains 2 elliptical brown seeds 6 mm long.
The fruit is eaten raw, marinated or used in drinks. It is very nutritious and rich in vitamin C. It is second only to guava and much higher than citrus fruits or apples. In India, ripe fruits are mostly eaten raw, but are sometimes cooked. The slightly ripe fruits are confit by a quilting process, immersed in a salt solution. Ripe fruits are kept in the sun and a powder is prepared for off-season purposes. It contains 20 to 30% sugar, up to 2.5% protein and 12.8% carbohydrates. Fruits are also eaten in other forms, such as dried, candied, marinated, as juice or as butter. In Ethiopia, fruits are used to stun fish.
The leaves are easily consumed by camels, cattle and goats and are considered nutritious.
In India and Queensland, flowers are considered a minor source of nectar for bees. The honey is light and of good flavor.
Ber wood is hard, strong, fine-grained, fine-textured, hard, durable and reddish in color. It has been used to align sinks, make legs for beds, boat ribs, farm implements, tool handles, and other turn-turned items. The branches are used as framework in the construction of houses and the wood makes good charcoal with a heat content of nearly 4 900 kcal per kg. In addition, this species is used as firewood in many areas. In tropical Africa, the flexible branches are wrapped around the conical roofs of the huts, and are rolled together to form thorny corral walls to hold the cattle.
Fruits are applied on cuts and ulcers; are used in pulmonary affections and fevers; and, mixed with salt and peppers, are given in indigestion and biliousness. Ripe dried fruit is a mild laxative. The seeds are sedative and are taken, sometimes with buttermilk, to stop nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain during pregnancy. They check for diarrhea and are cataplicated on wounds. Mixed with oil, they are rubbed on the rheumatic zones. The leaves are applied as poultice and are useful in liver disorders, asthma and fever and, with catechu, are administered when an astringent is needed, as on wounds. The decoction of bitter and astringent bark is used to stop diarrhea and dysentery and relieve gingivitis. The bark paste is applied to the wounds. The root is purgative. A root decoction is given as febrifuge, taenicide and emmenagogue, and the powdered root is sprinkled on the wounds. The juice of the root bark is said to relieve gout and rheumatism. High doses of bark or root can be toxic. An infusion of flowers serves as an eye lotion.