305. Common Jujube

The jujube, Ziziphus jujuba, is native to southeastern Europe and East Asia and has been cultivated for its tasty fruits for over 4,000 years.

Jujube fruit is widely eaten in Asia and parts of Europe and Africa, where it is often mixed with spices or made into tea or jam. It ripens in autumn, has a crisp, sweet taste, and can be eaten fresh, dried, or cooked.

Depending on when you’re visiting, you may notice small yellow flowers on the tree in early summer, leaves that turn bright yellow in the fall, and branches that have a distinct zigzag pattern all year round.

This jujube tree grew from a cutting of a plant collected during the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838 to 1842. Also known as the Wilkes Expedition, the voyage brought plants from all over the world here to Washington and helped form the collection of the U.S. Botanic Garden.

You can see three other species collected on this expedition inside the Conservatory. 

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