Family: - RhamnaceaeNames:
Ziziphus is Greek and the name given by Pliny the Elder to the Jujube tree which was probably Ziziphus lotus of Homerian legend that induced a drugged indolent state upon eating.
Mauritiana refers to the island of Mauritius where it may have been first collected.
Other Names:Ber (India)
Chinee Apple is possibly a reference to the Chinese who may have introduced it to Queensland during the gold rushes in the 1860's.
A perennial, spiny shrub or tree to 6 m high and 10 m wide with alternate, glossy, strongly veined leaves and fruit with firm white flesh and a wooden stone.
Petiole - Short.
Blade - Elliptical and asymmetric at the base. Glossy green on top and covered with white to rusty coloured hairs underneath. Strongly veined. Tip pointed. Edges curved and toothed. Base tapered to squarish.
Stems:Zig zag form with a leaf and large thorn at each joint.
Often densely branched from the base.
Flower head:Clustered in the leaf axils.
Flowers:Green, small, inconspicuous, fragrant.
Fruit:Sub globular, pale yellow to brown when mature, 30 mm long with firm white flesh that has an apple flavour and a large, woody core or stone.
Seeds:Sub globular with a hard stony outer skin.
Roots:Spreading and deep.
Perennial. Seeds germinate in the wet summer season and grow over summer.
Flowering times:January to June in Australia.
Seed Biology and Germination:Probably has an after ripening period but seed removed from the stone when mature will germinate immediately.
Population Dynamics and Dispersal:
Spread by birds and animals that eat the fruit and distribute the seed in their droppings.
Origin and History:Native to Eastern Africa, the India Ocean Islands and Southern Asia.
First recorded in SA in1842, then the Torres Strait Islands in 1863 and then collected in Townsville in 1916.
Distribution:ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.
Habitats:Often occurs around old mining sites, settlements and along stock routes.
Disturbed areas and neglected pastures.
Climate:Sub humid to semi-arid tropical and subtropical areas with a distinct dry season.
Edible fruit that is eaten raw or in jams and pies.
Cultivated in India, Sri Lanka and east to Burma.
Grown as an ornamental in the NT.
Used in Hindu folk medicine. The leaves used as a poultice for urinary dysfunction, the roots in decoctions against fever or as a powder for dressing wounds and ulcers. The bark reduces diarrhoea and the fruit checks bleeding, purifies the blood and helps digestion.
Detrimental:Weed of disturbed areas and stock routes.
It can form inpenetrable thickets limiting stock movements and access to water.
Toxicity:Not recorded as toxic.
Declared plant of NT, Qld and WA.
Management and Control:Thresholds:
Mechanically remove trees or
Spray foliage with glyphosate or
Cut and immediately paint the stumps with triclopyr in diesel or
Use triclopyr plus picloram (e.g. Access®) in diesel as a basal bark application on the lower 50 cm of trunks.
Hexazinone is ineffective.
Herbicide resistance:None reported.
Biological Control:Related plants:
Ziziphus quadrilocularis is a native plant from the Kimberly.
Plants of similar appearance:Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) has leaves with leaflets (bipinnate).
References:Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia).
Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).
Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (2007). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Second Edition). Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia. P224-225. Photo.
Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). 1075.2
Parsons, W.T. and Cuthbertson, E.G. (1992) Noxious weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P564-565. Photos
Paczkowska, G. and Chapman, A. (2000). The Western Australia flora: a descriptive catalogue. (Wildflower Society of Western Australia (Inc), the Western Australian Herbarium, CALM and the Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority). P511.
Randall, J.M. and Marinelli, J. (1996) Invasive Plants. (Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Inc. Brooklyn). P. Photo.
Acknowledgments:Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.