Ziziphus spina-christi, known as the Christ's thorn jujube, is an evergreen tree or plant native to northern and tropical Africa, Southern and Western Asia. It is native to the Levant, East Africa and some tropical countries.
In the Levant, it grows in valleys up to an elevation of 500 m. The ripe fruits are edible. The seed, contained within a small, oblong woody pit, is opened and eaten by local fauna, including the rock hyrax.
Cultural and religious references
In the Levant, a hundred years ago, it was called sidr (associated with the Lote-trees of the Quran) and was common in the Jordan Valley and around Jerusalem. There were some folklore traditions that said the trees were protected by benevolent spirits or dead saints (weli). By some traditions, it was the tree from which Jesus' crown of thorns was made. Matthew George Easton argues that the spina-christi is too brittle to be bent into a crown, and suggests another local plant which he says is called "nabk".
The oldest known Ziziphus is located south of Jerusalem, in Ein Hatzeva, Israel. It is estimated to be about 2000 years old. It is believed locally to be the very tree from which Jesus' crown of thorns was made.[better source needed]
Ziziphus spina-christi fruit, Behbahan, Iran
- The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species, retrieved 30 January 2016
- Zohary M. Flora Palaestina. II. Jerusalem: The Israel Academy of Science and Humanities; 1972. pp. 307–308 cited in Amots Dafni; Shay Levy & Efraim Lev (2005), "The ethnobotany of Christ's Thorn Jujube (Ziziphus spina-christi) in Israel", J Ethnobiol Ethnomed, 1: 8, doi:10.1186/1746-4269-1-8, PMC 1277088, PMID 16270941
-  Archived April 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- Easton, M.G., M.A., D.D. (1893). Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature: With Numerous Illustrations and Important Chronological Tables and Maps. London, Edinburgh and New York: T. Nelson and Sons. p. 688.
«It overruns a great part of the Jordan valley.» p.174. Easton argues that the spina-christi is too brittle to be bent into a crown. He suggests another local plant which he says is called «nabk».CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- "Ziziphus spina-christi". Flowersinisrael.com. Retrieved 2015-03-09.
- Easton, M.G., M.A., D.D. (1893) 'Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature With Numerous Illustrations and Important Chronological Tables and Maps. T. Nelson and Sons, London, Edinburgh and New York. p.174
- "Oldest trees in Israel".
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