Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) originated in China and was imported to the United States beginning in 1908. There are over 800 jujube cultivars in China, while only 70–80 are available in the United States, and most of these were imported from China (Liu and Wang, 2009; Yao, 2013a). Most of these cultivars are grown for fresh eating, drying, or processing. Jujube fruits are nutritious, with high amounts of vitamin C, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, dietary fiber, minerals, and antioxidants (Huang et al., 2017; Liu and Wang, 2009; Zhao et al., 2017). There are some cultivars well known for their ornamental properties, such as unique fruit shape, fruit color change, or tree shape (Liu and Wang, 2009), that are also suitable as edible landscape plants. Using edibles in landscapes can enhance a garden by providing ornamentals with additional health, aesthetic, and economic benefits (Creasy, 2009). These ornamental jujube cultivars may not have the best fruit quality or the highest yield, but they can provide more enjoyment than regular jujube cultivars or common ornamental trees.
Cultivar So was imported by Frank N. Meyer in 1914 (accession #37484), who described it as “a variety of jujube of very gnarled and zigzag growth. The fruits are said to be round, medium size, shining brown-red and of sweet taste” (Taylor, 1917). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Chico Plant Introduction Station (Chico, CA) did not recommend ‘So’ in the 1920s (Thomas, 1927), but ‘So’ was used for breeding purposes (Ackerman, 1961). An open-pollinated seedling of ‘So’, with flat fruit shaped like a mini donut, was named ‘Chico’ to commemorate the USDA Chico Plant Introduction Station (Thomson, 1971). Cultivar Dragon, also called Longzao, was named from its tree shape with twisted branches, while ‘Mushroom’ and ‘Teapot’ were named from their fruit shapes (Guo and Shan, 2010; Liu and Wang, 2009).
Jujube research and cultivar trials are limited in the United States. We established jujube cultivar trials in both central [Los Lunas, NM (zone 7a)] and northern [Alcalde, NM (zone 6a)] New Mexico in 2015. The objective of this study was to evaluate the four ornamental cultivars (Dragon, Mushroom, So, and Teapot) and assess their potential as edible landscape trees.
Creasy, R. 2009 Edible landscaping basics. 20 Apr. 2018. <http://www.rosalindcreasy.com/edible-landscaping-basics/>
Grasswitz, T. & Yao, S. 2017 Potential value of Ziziphus jujuba Mill. as a dual-purpose insectary plant for small-scale farms. 20 June 2018. <https://esa.confex.com/esa/2017/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/124308>
Guo, Y. & Shan, G. 2010 The chinese jujube. Shanghai Scientific Technical Publ., Shanghai, China. (in Chinese)
Huang, J., Heyduck, R., Richins, R., VanLeeuwen, D., O’Connell, M.A. & Yao, S. 2017 Jujube cultivar vitamin C profile and nutrient dynamics during maturation HortScience 52 859 867
Liu, M. & Wang, M. 2009 Germplasm resources of Chinese jujube. China Forestry Publ. House, Beijing, China. (in Chinese)
Taylor, W.A. 1917 Inventory of seeds and plants imported by the Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction during the period from 1 Jan. to 31 Mar. 1914. Inventory no. 38. Nos: 36937 to 37646. 26 June 2018. <https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/naldc/download.xhtml?id=37033&content=PDF>
Thomas, C.C. 1927 Chinese jujube in southwestern United States, p. 212–215. In: USDA Yearbook of Agriculture 1926. 28 Apr. 2018. <http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/IND43842740/PDF>
Yao, S., Huang, J. & Heyduck, R. 2015 Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.) flowering and fruiting in the southwestern United States HortScience 50 839 846
Zhao, Z., Richins, R., Heyduck, R., O’Connell, M.A. & Yao, S. 2017 cAMP distributing profiles of Chinese jujube in New Mexico State HortScience 52 9 S350 (abstr.)