Paliurus spina-christi

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Paliurus spina-christi
Paliurus fg01.jpg
Jerusalem thorn (Paliurus spina-christi)
Scientific classification edit
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 and southwest and central Asia, from Morocco and Spain east to Iran and Tajikistan.


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 and by an ancient oral tradition[clarification needed], the spiny branches of this shrub were supposedly used to make the crown of thorns placed on Christ's 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.



  • Flora Europaea: Paliurus spina-christi
  • "Paliurus spina-christi". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • Rushforth, K. D. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
  • Flora Vitiensis Nova. Volume 3. Albert C. Smith. VI. 694 pp. Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii. 1985

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