Ziziphus spina-christi

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Ziziphus spina-christi
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Ziziphus
Z. spina-christi
Binomial name
Ziziphus spina-christi
  • Rhamnus spina-christi L.

Ziziphus spina-christi, known as the Christ's thorn jujube, is an evergreen tree or plant native to the Levant, East Africa, and Mesopotamia.[2] Fruit and leaves from the tree were used in preparing ancient Egyptian foods and cultural practices.


In the Levant, it grows in valleys up to an elevation of 500 m,[3] and is drought tolerant and heat-resistant.[4] The ripe fruits are edible.[5] The seed, contained within a small, oblong woody pit, is opened and eaten by local fauna, including the rock hyrax.

Cultural and religious references[edit]

In the Levant and wider Middle East, it is called sidr (associated with the lote tree of the Quran), and is common in the Jordan Valley and around Jerusalem,[6] as well as in the Hajar Mountains of the Sultanate of Oman.[7] By some myths, it was the tree from which Jesus' crown of thorns was made.[8] Matthew George Easton argues that Z. spina-christi is too brittle to be bent into a crown, and suggests another local plant, Ziziphus lotus.[9]

The oldest known Z. spina-christi is located in Ir Ovot, in the south of Israel.[10] It is estimated to be between 1500 and 2000 years old.[11][12] It is believed locally to be the very tree from which Jesus' crown of thorns was made.[13] It is the national tree of Qatar and the symbol of the central Arava.



  1. ^ The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species, retrieved 30 January 2016
  2. ^ Orwa; et al. (2009). "Zizyphus spina-Christi" (PDF). 5Agroforestry Database 4.0. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-12.
  3. ^ Zohary M. (1972). Flora Palaestina. II. Jerusalem: The Israel Academy of Science and Humanities. 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.
  4. ^ World Agroforestry Centre. Zizyphus spina-christi. Retrieved on 31 May, 2023
  5. ^ Reinhard Fichtl. "Christ's Thorn - Ziziphus spina-Christi". Bees for Development. Archived from the original on April 24, 2010.
  6. ^ Easton (1893), p. 688, "It overruns a great part of the Jordan valley."
  7. ^ Lancaster, William (2011). Honour is in contentment : life before oil in Ras al-Khaimah (UAE) and some neighbouring regions. Lancaster, Fidelity. Berlin: De Gruyter. p. 137. ISBN 978-3-11-022340-8. OCLC 763160662.
  8. ^ "Ziziphus spina-christi". Flowersinisrael.com. Retrieved 2015-03-09.
  9. ^ Easton (1893), p. 174.
  10. ^ Bar-am, Aviva; Bar-am, Shmuel (15 November 2014). "Rooted in Israel's history, five remarkable trees". Times of Israel.
  11. ^ "The "old man" of Hatzeva – the jujube tree at Hatzeva Spring". www.moag.gov.il. Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development.
  12. ^ Grossman, Michelle Malka (24 January 2016). "Israeli trees get IDs with interactive heritage project". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  13. ^ Sutton, Candace (20 April 2019). "The real story of Jesus Christ's crown of thorns". news.com.au. Retrieved 27 October 2019.


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