Ziziphus mauritiana1 (?)
Z. mauritiana is a much-branched shrub
or tree up to 10m of height, dropping angular branches, crown rounded.
The plant has strong spines, paired with one straight and one recurved
('thumb-pointer') spine or small, single and recurved. The bark is dark
grey-brown and only smooth when young. The leaves are hairless and shiny
and alternate. Flowers are very small, yellow-green, crowded in heads by
leaves with a sharp sweet smell. Fruits are round (~ 2cm) shiny yellow
then red-brown when ripe, with two seeds in a large stone.
preparation methods and palatability
The fruits are collected and eaten
(flesh part) by children in normal times. But in severe food shortage time
adults also consume the fruits. The pulp of the fruit is very acidic and
not much liked under normal circumstances.
of ziziphus species contain an extremely high vitamin C portion: Oranges
contain ~ 57mg/100g, whereas ziziphus species contain up to 1000mg/100g
(Grosskinsky, 1999: p. 23).
The species is wide spread in tropical
Africa, often naturalized. It is common in Ilubabor, Gamo-Gofa, Sidamo,
Hararghe in dry and moist lowlands (400 - 1,600m). The species has a strongly
developed root system and does best in areas with a high water table.
Propagates by seeds, seedlings, direct
sowing, root suckers as well as by cuttings.
Near Garsa Gita beside Mile-Bati road
in a riverbed, Afar Region
Z. mauritiana is a very important
tree for dry areas because of its many uses. Besides its edible fruits,
the tree produces firewood, charcoal, timber (utensils), animal fodder
from the leaves and the fruits, bee forage, live fence and is also a good
1 Parts of the following
description have been taken from Bekele-Tesemma et al., 1993: p. 452/453