Ziziphus spina-christi

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Ziziphus spina-christi
Scientific classification edit
Domain: Eukaryota
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 northern and tropical Africa, Southern and Western Asia. It is native to the Levant, East Africa and some tropical countries.[2] Fruit and leaves from the tree have been used in Ancient Egyptian food and medicine. Modern research has shown that compounds extracted from the tree's leaves could be used to decrease severe inflammation.[3] Additionally, honey from bees that feed on the tree's nectar has anti-bacterial properties that inhibit infectious diseases, especially when compared to other types of honey.[4]


In the Levant, it grows in valleys up to an elevation of 500 m.[5] The ripe fruits are edible.[6] 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, 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.[7] 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.[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 south of Jerusalem, in Ein Hatzeva, 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]



  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. ^ Kadioglu, Onat; Jacob, Stefan; Bohnert, Stefan; Naß, Janine; Saeed, Mohamed E.M.; Khalid, Hassan; Merfort, Irmgard; Thines, Eckhard; Pommerening, Tanja; Efferth, Thomas (2016). "Evaluating ancient Egyptian prescriptions today: Anti-inflammatory activity of Ziziphus spina-christi". Phytomedicine. 23 (3): 293–306. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2016.01.004. PMID 26969383.
  4. ^ Ghramh, Hamed (Spring 2018). "Antibacterial potential of some Saudi honeys from Asir region against selected pathogenic bacteria". Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences. 26 (6): 1278–1284. doi:10.1016/j.sjbs.2018.05.011. PMC 6733388. PMID 31516358.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Reinhard Fichtl. "Christ's Thorn - Ziziphus spina-Christi". Bees for Development. Archived from the original on April 24, 2010.
  7. ^ Easton (1893), p. 688, "It overruns a great part of the Jordan valley."
  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.

External links[edit]