Paliurus spina-christi

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Paliurus spina-christi
Jerusalem thorn (Paliurus spina-christi)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Paliurus
P. spina-christi
Binomial name
Paliurus spina-christi
  • Paliurus aculeatus Lam.
  • Paliurus australis Gaertn.
  • Rhamnus paliurus L.
  • Ziziphus spina-christi (Mill.) Georgi

Paliurus spina-christi, commonly known as Jerusalem thorn, garland thorn, Christ's thorn, or crown of thorns, is a species of Paliurus native to the Mediterranean region, Southwest Asia and Central Asia, from Morocco and Spain east to Iran and Tajikistan.[1][2]


It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 3–4 m tall. The shoots are zig-zagged, with a leaf and two stipular spines (one straight, one curved) on the outside of each kink. The leaves are oval, 2–5 cm long and 1–4 cm broad, glossy green, with an entire margin. The fruit is a dry woody nutlet centred in a circular wing 2–3.5 cm diameter.


As suggested by the Latin name, the spiny branches of this shrub were thought to be used to make the crown of thorns placed on Jesus' head before his crucifixion. Ziziphus spina-christi, the Christ's thorn jujube, is also identified as being used for the crown of thorns.


It is viewed as an ornamental curiosity and is cultivated in some areas outside its native range, including Fiji.



  1. ^ Casavecchia, Simona; Biscotti, Nello; Pesaresi, Simone; Biondi, Edoardo (2015-07-01). "The Paliurus spina-christi dominated vegetation in Europe". Biologia. 70 (7): 879–892. Bibcode:2015Biolg..70..879C. doi:10.1515/biolog-2015-0100. ISSN 1336-9563. S2CID 90939997.
  2. ^ O'Kennon, Robert J. (1991). "Paliurus Spina-Christi (rhamnaceae) New for North America in Texas". SIDA, Contributions to Botany. 14 (4): 606–609. ISSN 0036-1488. JSTOR 41961083.

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