Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Ziziphus mauritiana
(jujube)

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Datasheet

Ziziphus mauritiana (jujube)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Ziziphus mauritiana
  • Preferred Common Name
  • jujube
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Z. mauritiana is a fast growing, spiny, thicket-forming shrub or tree, which can fruit prolifically and disperse seeds over a wide area using mammalian and avian vectors. However, it is also a valuable commercial...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Ziziphus mauritiana, 'Jujub tree', fruiting in Oman.
TitleFruiting
CaptionZiziphus mauritiana, 'Jujub tree', fruiting in Oman.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
Ziziphus mauritiana, 'Jujub tree', fruiting in Oman.
FruitingZiziphus mauritiana, 'Jujub tree', fruiting in Oman.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
TitleMature tree
Caption
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Mature tree©K.M. Siddiqui
Flowering shoot of Ziziphus mauritiana, 'Jujub tree', in Mali.
TitleFlowering shoot
CaptionFlowering shoot of Ziziphus mauritiana, 'Jujub tree', in Mali.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
Flowering shoot of Ziziphus mauritiana, 'Jujub tree', in Mali.
Flowering shootFlowering shoot of Ziziphus mauritiana, 'Jujub tree', in Mali.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
TitleTree in arid environment
Caption
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Tree in arid environment©K.M. Siddiqui
TitleHedgerow on field boundary
Caption
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Hedgerow on field boundary©K.M. Siddiqui
TitleSeedling
Caption
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Seedling©K.M. Siddiqui
TitleFlowering branch
Caption
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Flowering branch©K.M. Siddiqui
Close-up of leaves showing flowers and developing fruits.
TitleFoliage, flowers, fruits
CaptionClose-up of leaves showing flowers and developing fruits.
CopyrightICRAF
Close-up of leaves showing flowers and developing fruits.
Foliage, flowers, fruitsClose-up of leaves showing flowers and developing fruits.ICRAF
TitleFlower
Caption
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Flower©K.M. Siddiqui
Flowering and fruiting branch.
TitleLine artwork
CaptionFlowering and fruiting branch.
Copyright©PROSEA Foundation
Flowering and fruiting branch.
Line artworkFlowering and fruiting branch.©PROSEA Foundation

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Ziziphus mauritiana Lam.

Preferred Common Name

  • jujube

Other Scientific Names

  • Rhamnus jujuba L.
  • Ziziphus aucheri Boiss.
  • Ziziphus insularis Smith
  • Ziziphus jujuba (L.) Gaertn., nom. illeg.
  • Ziziphus jujube (L.) Lam.
  • Ziziphus mauritania nom. illeg.
  • Ziziphus orthocantha D.C.
  • Ziziphus rotundata D.C.
  • Ziziphus sonoria Roem. And Schult
  • Ziziphus tomentosa Poir.
  • Zizyphus mauritiana nom. illeg.

International Common Names

  • English: Chinese date; Chinese fig; Chinese jujube; cottony jujube; desert apple; Indian cherry; Indian date; Indian jujube; Indian plum; jujuba; Malay jujube
  • Spanish: azufaifo; yuyuba
  • French: datte chinoise; jujubier

Local Common Names

  • Afghanistan: berra (Pashto)
  • Australia: chinee apple; Chinese apple
  • Bangladesh: bozoi; kool; kul
  • Barbados: dunk; mangustine
  • Cambodia: putrea
  • Cape Verde: zimbrao (crioulu)
  • China: hong tsao; lang tsao; ta tsao; tsao tsao
  • Dominican Republic: perita haitiana
  • Ethiopia: abateria (Tigre); gaba-artigie (Tigre); gewa-ortigi (Tigre)
  • Fiji: baer; baher; bahir
  • Germany: Filzblattrige Jujube; Indischer Jujubenstrauch
  • Greece: tzintzola
  • Guadeloupe: dindoulier; gingeolier; liane croc chien; petit pomme; pomme malcadi; pomme surette
  • India: ajapriya; badari; ber; beri; berii; bhor; boguri; borkuli; boroi; boro-koli; cherumali; dadara; elandai; elangi; elantha; elladu; etachi; ganga reni; ilamda; jelachi; karak-andhova; karkandhu; khati; kool; kuvala; madhuvaphala; reegu; regureni; yelchi; yellande
  • Indonesia: bidara; dara; widara
  • Iran: kanar; kunar; nabik
  • Iraq: aunnaberhindi; nabig; sidr
  • Italy: guiggiolo
  • Jamaica: coolie plum; crabapple
  • Japan: sanebuto-natsume
  • Kenya: ekalati (Turkana); mkunazi (Kiswahilli); olongo (Luo); tolumuro (Pokot)
  • Laos: than
  • Malawi: massawo (Chewa); msonoka (Yao)
  • Malaysia: bidara; epal siam; jujub
  • Mali: domo (Bambara); mgaria (Haussa); ntomono (Bambara); surgo ntomono (Bambara); tomboro (Bambara); tomonou (Bambara)
  • Martinique: dindoulier; gingeolier; liane croc chien; petit pomme; pomme malcadi; pomme surette
  • Myanmar: eng-si; zee-pen; zi; ziben; zizidaw
  • Nepal: baer
  • Pakistan: ber (Urdu); berwarter (Baluchi); jujube; ker; kunar (Baluchi)
  • Philippines: manzanita
  • Portugal: jujubeira; maciera
  • Puerto Rico: aprin; yuyubi
  • Senegal: dem (Wolof); dim (Wolof); djabi (Peulh); djabie (Peulh); n'giobi (Peulh); sedem (Wolof); tabi (Peulh)
  • Somalia: bheb (Arabic); gob (Arabic); jujube (Arabic); nabk (Arabic)
  • Sri Lanka: ilanda (Sinhalese); mahadebara (Sinhalese); masaka (Sinhalese); yellande
  • Sudan: nabbag elfil; sir nabk (Arabic)
  • Tanzania: mkunazi (Kiswahilli)
  • Thailand: ma tan; ma thong; man tan; phutsa; putsa
  • Trinidad and Tobago: dunks
  • Uganda: esilang (Karamajong)
  • Venezuela: ponsigne; yuyubo
  • Vietnam: c[aa]y t[as]o ta; tao; tao nhuc
  • Zambia: akasongole (Bemba); massau (Nyanja); musawce (Tonga)
  • Zimbabwe: masua (Shona, Tonga); musawu (Shona, Tangu); yanja (Shona, Tangu)

EPPO code

  • ZIPMA (Ziziphus mauritiana)

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page Z. mauritiana is a fast growing, spiny, thicket-forming shrub or tree, which can fruit prolifically and disperse seeds over a wide area using mammalian and avian vectors. However, it is also a valuable commercial fruit crop in its native Asia, mostly in India and China, and its promotion as a drought-tolerant fruit species means that further introductions are likely. It is a declared noxious weed in three Australian states and is noted as invasive in parts of southern Africa and on a number of Pacific and Indian Ocean islands. It is hard to control because of vigorous resprouting and has the ability to resist fire and mechanical treatments. Other species of Ziziphus also have the potential to become invasive, and Ziziphus spina-cristi is already recognized as such.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Rhamnales
  •                         Family: Rhamnaceae
  •                             Genus: Ziziphus
  •                                 Species: Ziziphus mauritiana

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Ziziphus (family Rhamnaceae) is generally accepted as containing 86 species (Mabberley, 1997; Azam-Ali et al., 2006), most of which are Indomalesian, with some from West Asia, tropical and South Africa, Australia and tropical America (Parker, 1956). Ziziphus mauritiana was first named as Ziziphus jujube in 1789 by Lamarck. According to Luna (1996), two varieties are recognized in India: var. hysudrica, which is wild or cultivated with large fruit, and var. fruiticosa, which is a small shrub in the sub-Himalayan tract, with small fruit. Numerous identifiable cultivars have also been developed for fruit production (Bal, 1992; Azam-Ali et al., 2006). It is important to note that there has been taxonomic confusion within the genus, particularly between the two common, cultivated species, Z. mauritiana from India and Z. jujuba from China. Special attention to the authorities is also required as, for example, Z. jujuba (L.) Gaertn. is a synonym of Z. mauritiana, whereas Z. jujuba Mill. is the other common, cultivated species in the genus. Due to this confusion, some of the common names listed in the table actually refer to Z. jujuba Mill., or to both species, but are included nonetheless. For further information on common names in different languages in India and West Africa, see Azam-Ali et al. (2006).

Description

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Z. mauritiana is a small to medium-sized, single or multi-stemmed, spiny shrub or tree, which is almost evergreen, but is deciduous during the dry season. It has a round, spreading crown. It can reach up to 12 m tall and 30 cm diameter at breast height, but is highly variable in size and general appearance. Old protected trees of this species occasionally reach 24 m tall and 1.8 m diameter (von Carlowitz, 1991; Hocking, 1993). The bole is generally short, reaching 3 m in length at most. The bark is dark grey, dull black or reddish with long vertical fissures, reddish and fibrous inside (von Carlowitz, 1991). The branches are spreading and droop at the ends. The twigs are usually softly tomentose when young (Parker, 1956; Gupta, 1993). Z. mauritiana has a deep and lateral root system. Stipules are mostly spines, in pairs with one hooked and one straight, or both hooked, or rarely with neither as a spine. The leaves are simple, shining green above and whitish tomentose beneath, due to persistent dense hairs (occasionally glabrous), margins minutely serrulate, leaf shape ranging from almost round to an elongated ellipse, commonly sub-orbicular to ovate-oblong, rounded at both ends, highly variable in shape and size but always with three basal nerves and two stipular spines, one long and straight, the other small and curved back, and often brown in colour. Spineless types are not uncommon in this species (Singh, 1989). The leaves are solitary or in pairs, from 2 to 6 cm in length (occasionally 1.3-12.0 cm) and 1.5-5.9 cm at the widest point (occasionally 0.4-6.5 cm wide). Size variation is related to site quality and position on the tree, the leaves on vigorous new shoots being the largest (Parker, 1956; Hocking, 1993). Flowers are minute, greenish-white or yellow, hermaphrodite, in sessile or shortly peduncled axillary cymes, and are insect pollinated (Patel et al., 1988; Devi et al., 1989) with an acrid smell (Azam-Ali et al., 2006). The fruit is initially green and turns yellow, orange and red on ripening; being a drupe containing sour-sweet pulp and a hard stone. It varies in size from 1.2 to 3.7 cm long, and is generally globose or ovoid, and glossy. The fruits on wild plants reach about 2 cm in diameter, and on cultivated varieties can exceed 5 cm long. The stone in the fruit is irregularly furrowed and usually contains two cells and two seeds (Hocking, 1993), which have papery testa.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Tree
Vegetatively propagated
Woody

Distribution

Top of page Z. mauritiana is often considered a native of South and Central Asia and China. Morton (1987) notes an area from Afghanistan to Yunnan, China, which is accepted here, although the exact limits of this range remain in debate, but Morton (1987) also describes it as native to Malaysia and Queensland, Australia, which is rejected here as it is recorded as a recent invader in Australia. Accounts of Z. mauritiana being native to Indian Ocean islands, e.g. the Seychelles (Weber, 2003) and South-East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, are assumed to be the result of it being introduced to these areas in pre-history, if not later, as has happened with a large number of useful crop plants, and only the restricted native range is accepted in this account. Z. mauritiana is found, either wild or naturalized, throughout the arid and semi-arid tracts of India and Pakistan, where its range extends from the foothills of the Himalayas, ascending to more than 1500 m altitude, to the desert area in the south (Troup, 1921; Singh, 1989; Gupta, 1993; Hocking, 1993). It has been very widely introduced throughout the world, and its current global distribution is likely to be even wider than the list of countries presented here.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

AfghanistanPresentNativePlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
BangladeshPresentIntroducedCABI, 2005
CambodiaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
ChinaPresentNative Not invasive Planted, NaturalCABI, 2005
-YunnanPresentNative Not invasive Morton, 1987
IndiaWidespreadNative Not invasive Planted, NaturalCABI, 2005
-DelhiPresentPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
-GujaratPresentPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
-HaryanaPresentPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
-Indian PunjabPresentPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
-KarnatakaPresentShrilakshmi and Patil, 2016Belagavi district
-RajasthanPresentPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
-Uttar PradeshPresentPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
IranPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
IraqPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
IsraelEradicatedPlanted, NaturalMorton, 1987
JordanPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted, NaturalCABI, 2005
KazakhstanPresentNativePlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
KuwaitPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
KyrgyzstanPresentNativePlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
MyanmarPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
NepalPresentNativeWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
OmanPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
PakistanPresentNative Not invasive Planted, NaturalCABI, 2005
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedISSG, 2003
QatarPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
Saudi ArabiaPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
SyriaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
TajikistanPresentNativePlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
ThailandPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
TurkeyPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
TurkmenistanPresentNativePlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
United Arab EmiratesPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
UzbekistanPresentNativePlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
VietnamPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
YemenPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005

Africa

AlgeriaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
AngolaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
BotswanaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
CameroonPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
Cape VerdePresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
ChadPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
CongoPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
DjiboutiPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
EgyptPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
EritreaPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
GhanaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
GuineaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
KenyaPresentIntroducedJama et al., 1989; Oba et al., 2001; Oba et al., 2001; World Agroforestry Centre, 2002
LesothoPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
LibyaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted, NaturalCABI, 2005
MadagascarPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
MalawiPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
MaliPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
MauritaniaPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
MauritiusPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
MoroccoPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted, NaturalCABI, 2005
MozambiquePresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
NamibiaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
NigerPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
NigeriaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
RéunionPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007
SenegalPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
SeychellesPresentIntroducedPIER, 2007
Sierra LeonePresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
SomaliaPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
South AfricaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
SudanPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
SwazilandPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
-ZanzibarPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
TunisiaPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
UgandaPresentIntroducedWorld Agroforestry Centre, 2002
Western SaharaPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
ZambiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Nyoka, 2002
ZimbabwePresentIntroduced Invasive Nyoka, 2002

North America

USAPresentPlanted, NaturalCABI, 2005
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-FloridaPresentIntroducedMorton, 1987; USDA-NRCS, 2007
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedMorton, 1987; Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; ISSG, 2003; PIER, 2007

Central America and Caribbean

BahamasPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalMorton, 1987
BarbadosPresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalMorton, 1987
BelizePresentIntroducedPlanted, NaturalMorton, 1987
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedMorton, 1987
GrenadaPresentIntroducedCABI, 2005
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedCABI, 2005
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedMorton, 1987
JamaicaPresentIntroducedMorton, 1987
MartiniquePresentIntroducedCABI, 2005
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedMorton, 1987; Francis and Liogier, 1991; USDA-NRCS, 2007
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedMorton, 1987
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2007

South America

ColombiaPresentIntroducedMorton, 1987
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedMorton, 1987

Europe

GreecePresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted, NaturalCABI, 2005
ItalyPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted, NaturalCABI, 2005
SpainPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted, NaturalCABI, 2005

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979; ISSG, 2003
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007
-QueenslandWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Morton, 1987; Land Protection, 2006; PIER, 2007
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2007
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; ISSG, 2003; PIER, 2007
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedInstitute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; PIER, 2007
GuamPresentIntroducedMorton, 1987; Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; ISSG, 2003
KiribatiPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedInstitute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; PIER, 2007
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2007
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedInstitute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 2002; PIER, 2007

History of Introduction and Spread

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Z. mauritiana is cultivated throughout the tropics, but is only considered commercially important in China and India (Lemmens et al., 1995). Dates of introduction are few, but it is likely to have been intentionally introduced as a fruit species to the Middle East, Africa and South-East Asia in pre-history, and to other parts of the world since at least the early 1800s. It was first recorded in the Torres Straits between Papua New Guinea and Australia in 1863, and Townsville, Queensland, Australia in 1916 (Land Protection, 2006). It was introduced to Guam in 1850 and to Israel in 1939 (Morton, 1987). It has naturalized in a large number of tropical and subtropical countries and is widely distributed through tropical and subtropical, and arid and semi-arid regions of the world (Qaiser and Nazimuddin, 1981; von Carlowitz, 1991; Hocking, 1993). According to World Agroforestry Centre (2002), Z. mauritiana is a naturalized, introduced species in Myanmar, Barbados, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Iran, Martinique, Sri Lanka, Syria and some areas in the Mediterranean, though this list is clearly not exhaustive. Z. mauritiana is invasive in Australia, where it is a serious weed (Holm et al., 1979; ISSG, 2003) with noxious weed status in Western Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory (NWSEC, 1998). It is also invasive in Zimbabwe and Zambia (Nyoka, 2002) and on a number of Pacific and Indian Ocean islands (PIER, 2007). In Puerto Rico, Francis and Liogier (1991) estimated that more than 1000 Z. mauritiana plants were established on coastal plains and offshore islands but noted that they occurred infrequently or were restricted to a particular habitat and that the rate of spread was slow. Morton (1987) noted that Z. mauritiana was eradicated from Israel because fruit production was poor and the trees so infested with fruit flies that they were destroyed to protect other, more valuable, tree crops.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Guam 1850 Horticulture (pathway cause)Morton (1987)
Queensland 1873 Land Protection (2006)

Risk of Introduction

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Z. mauritiana is cultivated throughout the tropics and has been intentionally introduced to many countries outside its natural range. It is already found in many countries with a similar climate and environment to areas in which it has become invasive and its behaviour should be monitored in order to detect and report early signs of invasion. It continues to be promoted as an ‘underutilised species’, with almost no mention of its potential invasiveness in a recent monograph by Azam-Ali et al. (2006), thus further ill-conceived introductions may still occur. Further invasions are therefore likely, possibly of ‘improved’ varieties. Z. mauritiana has regulated noxious weed status in Western Australia, Queensland (Class 2) and Northern Territory, Australia (NWSEC, 1998). It has also failed weed risk assessments for Australia and the Pacific (PIER, 2007) so further introductions, at least in this region, are unlikely.

Habitat

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Z. mauritiana is now found throughout the arid and semi-arid tracts of much of Asia and Africa, also the Americas and Australasia. However, it is only recorded as invasive in the three northern states of Australia, Pacific and Indian Ocean islands (mainly Fiji and Reunion), and in southern Africa (Zambia and Zimbabwe). Invaded habitats include tropical and subtropical woodland, savannah, coastal plains, pasture land, roadsides, riparian habitats and former farmland. The trees grow well in abandoned agricultural fields and on marginal lands (Singh, 1989; Hocking, 1993). In the Caribbean, Morton (1987) records that “In Barbados, Jamaica and Puerto Rico the tree is naturalized and forms thickets in uncultivated areas”. It is worth noting that Z. mauritiana is a tropical and subtropical species, whereas the closely related and morphologically similar Z. jujuba prefers more temperate climates (Kaaria, 1998).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Deserts Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Arid regions Principal habitat Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

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Z. mauritiana is not generally a weed of agricultural land, as it is removed during cultivation; however, it is an invasive species in some rangeland and pastures, reducing the presence of other forage species. It is occasionally a weed of natural forests, as in Australia, where Z. mauritiana has been recorded invading eucalyptus woodland (Weber, 2003) and abandoned or fallow land (Morton, 1987).

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics
 
A number of cultivated and grafted varieties of Z. mauritiana have been developed for the production of fruit. Both spiny and spineless types of this species are found. Some variation in the chemical contents of leaf fodder has also been observed in different geographical locations (Luna, 1996). The seed characteristics of Z. mauritiana were found to have a close relationship to geographical distribution and climatic conditions, which is useful when choosing better forms of the tree (Wang, 1994). Similarly, a study on variability, heritability and expected genetic gain was conducted for 12 growth characteristics in 30 genotypes of this species, all of which were highly variable (Bisla and Daulta, 1986, 1988; Nanohar et al., 1986). For an extensive description of variability and genetics, including chromosome numbers, see Azam-Ali et al. (2006). Numerous named varieties are also listed in Morton (1987) and Azam-Ali et al. (2006).

Reproductive Biology
 
The flowers are protandrous and pollinated by insects including bees, wasps and flies (World Agroforestry Centre, 2002). Z. mauritiana regenerates naturally from seeds, which are dispersed by birds, wild animals, livestock and human beings. There are approximately 3300 seeds per kg of fruit (Sosef et al., 1998). The number of seeds produced by plants that are less than 2 m high is very low (e.g. in the order of five fruits per season) but once trees are larger than 5 m tall, more than 5000 fruits may be produced in a season (ISSG, 2003). Seeds are viable for at least 2 years when stored in gunny bags in a dry room, and have better germination than freshly-collected seeds. Germination capacity and establishment are generally high but very variable, between 31-95% and 27-82%, respectively (Luna, 1996). Z. mauritiana can also reproduce vegetatively from root suckers, allowing regeneration after extreme damage to the plant, such as fire (Weber, 2003).

Physiology and Phenology
 
In India, annual growth of Z. mauritiana generally ceases in November. Old leaves fall in March to April and new leaves appear almost simultaneously. Thus, the tree is leafless for only a short period, except in dry areas. Flowers appear in July to October and the fruit forms soon after, remaining green for about 4 months before turning yellowish on ripening in February to March (Gupta, 1993; Luna, 1996). In the wild, Z. mauritiana usually fruits well every year from the age of 3 years old (Singh, 1989). The World Agroforestry Centre (2002) describes this tree as fast-growing but comments that under natural conditions it may grow slowly.

Associations
 
As a generally tropical dryland species, Z. mauritiana is found growing in combination with other drought-adapted woody and herbaceous species, and has a range of other faunal associations (see Azam-Ali et al., 2006).
 
Environmental Requirements

Z. mauritiana tolerates a wide range of temperature from -5°C to 49°C and requires little rainfall (Hocking, 1993). The absolute maximum shade temperature is 38-49°C and the minimum temperature range is -5°C to 13°C; it does not tolerate frosts well (Kaaria, 1998). The average mean minimum temperature varies from 10 to 23°C, average mean maximum temperature from 31 to 37°C, and average mean temperature from 25 to 29°C (von Carlowitz, 1991). Annual rainfall in its natural habitat varies from 125 to 2225 mm. Z. mauritiana is widespread in areas in India with an annual rainfall of 300-500 mm (Gupta, 1993) and grows well in very dry conditions (World Agroforestry Centre, 2002). There are no particular soil requirements for Z. mauritiana, but deep sandy to loamy soils are considered best for optimum growth. It grows in well-drained sandy loams, shingle alluvium, sand dunes, skeletal and gravelly soils, laterite and black cotton soils (Troup, 1921; Hocking, 1993). It withstands seasonal waterlogging (von Carlowitz, 1991), tolerates moderate levels of alkalinity and salinity, and prefers soils with a pH of around 7.5. Trials in Kashmir indicated that Z. mauritiana grows well on soils with relatively low sodicity, pH <9, exchangeable sodium <35%, electrical conductivity <4 dS/m and the absence of a hard pan throughout the root zone of 20-140 cm depth (Kalyan Singh, 1994). It adapts well to rain-fed agriculture on black cotton soils due to its strong and deep root system (Luna, 1996). Z. mauritiana prefers plains and valleys, but also occurs in undulating ravines and gentle slopes from 0 to 1500 m, sometimes reaching 1800 m altitude (von Carlowitz, 1991; Luna, 1996).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Tolerated Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
B - Dry (arid and semi-arid) Preferred < 860mm precipitation annually
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Preferred < 430mm annual precipitation

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
25 25 0 0

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -5
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 25 29
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 31 37
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 10 23

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration38number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall1252225mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Summer
Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • saline

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Z. mauritiana is prone to attack by the parasitic plant Cuscuta reflexa, which should immediately be removed from productive trees if present. Many pests and diseases attack Z. mauritiana trees, insects feed on the sap, and the larvae of many insect species defoliate the trees. Among the fruit borers or fruit flies that cause serious damage are Meridarchis scyrodes and Carpomyia vesuviana (Singh, 1989; Gupta, 1993). In field studies conducted in Madhya Pradesh, India, 13 species of insect pests (including Achaea janata and Thiacidas postica) were recorded causing considerable damage to Z. mauritiana, which resulted in a lowering of the quality and quantity of produce (Vyas, 1996). A comprehensive list of pests and diseases of Z. mauritiana in India was prepared by Pareek (2001, in Azam-Ali et al., 2006), and others are listed in Morton (1987).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
 
Some dispersal by water may occur as the seed capsules float, but this is likely to be minimal compared to animal dispersal.
 
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
 
The seeds are primarily dispersed by birds, wild animals, livestock and human beings. Gardiner and Gardiner (1996) and Grice (1996) made extensive studies of seed dispersal in Australia, where mammal vectors include domestic livestock, feral pigs and wallabies, while avian dispersers include emus, bustards and black cockatoos. Cattle are the main vector in northern Australia (Grice, 1998).
 
Accidental Introduction
 
There are no recorded cases of the accidental introduction of Z. mauritania.
 
Intentional Introduction

Z. mauritiana is cultivated throughout the tropics and therefore has been intentionally introduced to many countries outside its natural range for the production of fruit.

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Germplasm Yes Azam-Ali et al., 2006
Livestock Yes Land Protection, 2006

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Crop production None
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production None
Human health None
Livestock production Negative
Native fauna None
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Economic Impact

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Z. mauritiana has a negative impact on the Australian cattle industry (ISSG, 2003), as dense thickets restrict the movement of cattle and reduce the area of pasture available. Further restriction of cattle movements is sometimes necessary as a strategy to prevent the spread of the plant to uninfested areas, because domestic livestock are one of the principal dispersers of the seed, although no economic costs are provided (ISSG, 2003). Z. mauritiana has a positive economic impact, especially in India, China and Pakistan where it is a valuable commercial fruit tree with marketable produce. The relative economic balance needs to be calculated in other countries where it may be both a crop and a pest. The positive benefits of Z. mauritiana are considered sufficient to merit further planting in India (Tewari et al., 2001).

Environmental Impact

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The architecture of woodland is changed by Z. mauritiana, as open woodlands acquire a dense shrub layer (Weber, 2003). According to ISSG (2003), Z. mauritiana is able to alter tropical and subtropical woodland and savannah habitats.

Impact on Biodiversity

Z. mauritiana can form dense thickets, which outcompete native plants and alter species assemblages (Weber, 2003).

Social Impact

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No precise information is available on the negative social impacts of Z. mauritiana such as those resulting from the thorns or due to restricted access to areas for recreation. However, the presence of a fruit crop is likely to have positive benefits, especially in dry areas or in years when alternative sources of nutritious foods may be lacking.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Rapid growth
  • Produces spines, thorns or burrs
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Economic Value
 
The horticultural varieties of Z. mauritiana are mainly grown for fruit and can produce large quantities, up to 600 kg/tree per year. The fruit is eaten fresh, dried, pickled or made into conserves. It is rich in vitamin C and sugars and provides edible exudates (von Carlowitz, 1991). In India and Pakistan, Z. mauritiana is an important agroforestry and silvopastoral species in arid and semi-arid regions, and is frequently found in and around arable fields and meadows. It is also planted for erosion control, soil and riverbank stabilization, and land reclamation (von Carlowitz, 1991). The tree is also used for live fencing around houses, and the branches are used as dead fencing to deter cattle (Gupta, 1993).

Z. mauritiana timber is usually of small dimensions with light red wood, maturing to reddish-brown. The heartwood is indistinct from the sapwood, reddish, durable, hard, strong, fine-grained and light to moderately heavy; it finishes to a smooth surface and takes good polish (Luna, 1996). The timber is used in rural construction, bed legs, tent pegs, house building, agricultural implements, cart wheels, oil mills, rice pounders, golf clubs, sandals, axe and hoe handles, furniture, boats, veneer, plywood, particleboard, carvings and turnery (von Carlowitz, 1991). Z. mauritiana provides good fuelwood and a good-quality charcoal (Gupta, 1993).

Z. mauritiana leaves contain 13-17% crude protein and 15% fibre, and make an excellent fodder for livestock. In winter, the shoots and fruit of the trees are an important feed source (Hocking, 1993). The leaves are also fed to tussar silkworms, and Z. mauritiana is one of the few trees which serve as a host to lac insects. It handles pruning well and yields a good crop of tender shoots for lac cultivation. The resinous encrustation from these insects is used to produce shellac which is used as a varnish. It also has medicinal properties and is used as a tonic. The root and stem bark contain 7% tannin and leaves 2% tannin, and these are sometimes mixed with other materials for tanning leather (Singh, 1989; Gupta, 1993; Hocking, 1993). The bark and fruit yield a dye. The roots of Z. mauritiana are used in the treatment of fever, wounds and ulcers, and the bark is used as a remedy for diarrhoea (Kundu et al., 1989). The roots, bark, leaves, seeds and fruit are particularly useful in aiding digestion and alleviating sores and other lesions.
 
Social Benefit
 
In dry areas in developing countries, Z. mauritiana has a valuable social value in providing subsistence food, fuel and fodder, particularly in drought years where few alternatives exist.
 
Environmental Services

Z. mauritiana is planted as a street tree in a number of countries, and large trees cast a welcome shade; however, the fruits can be a nuisance, as can the many birds that they attract.

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage
  • Invertebrate food for lac/wax insects

Environmental

  • Agroforestry
  • Amenity
  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Ornamental

Fuels

  • Charcoal
  • Fuelwood

Human food and beverage

  • Emergency (famine) food
  • Fruits
  • Honey/honey flora
  • Seeds

Materials

  • Alcohol
  • Carved material
  • Dye/tanning
  • Gum/resin
  • Lac
  • Silk
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Wood Products

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Boats

Charcoal

Containers

  • Pallets

Roundwood

  • Building poles
  • Roundwood structures

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Beams
  • Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
  • For heavy construction
  • For light construction

Veneers

Wood-based materials

  • Particleboard

Woodware

  • Cutlery
  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Sports equipment
  • Tool handles
  • Turnery
  • Wood carvings

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Z. mauritiana is distinguished from its near relative Ziziphus nummularia by its overall larger size and larger fruits; however, when Z. mauritiana is repeatedly coppiced and reduced to a shrubby form, it is difficult to distinguish between these species (Hocking, 1993). There is also a greater difference between the 'wild' and cultivated varieties of Z. mauritiana than between Z. mauritiana and Z. nummularia. Hybridization may occur between these two species and intermediate forms are produced (Hocking, 1993). There are also risks of confusion with the other commonly cultivated, but more temperate species, Ziziphus jujuba.

Prevention and Control

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Prevention
 
As Z. mauritiana is only likely to be introduced intentionally, there are no recorded prevention methods, other than those in place in Australia and the Pacific, where high risk results were obtained from weed risk assessments (PIER, 2007).
 
Public awareness
 
A number of publications have been prepared in Queensland, Northern Territories and Western Australia to inform land owners of their legal requirements regarding the detection and control of Z. mauritiana on private land.
 
Eradication
 
The only record of eradication of Z. mauritiana is from Israel, soon after the initial introduction of six plants from Malaysia in 1939 (Morton, 1987). However, the reason for eradication was because of high rates of fruit fly infection and not due to Z. mauritiana being an invasive species.
 
Containment/zoning
 
Land owners in Queensland, Australia are requested to consider containment of Z. mauritiana if eradication is not possible (Land Protection, 2006).
 
Control
 
Cultural control and sanitary measures
 
Z. mauritiana plants are able to survive after fire because of vigorous vegetative regeneration from root suckers (Weber, 2003). According to Grice (1997), only 10% of Z. mauritiana plants were killed by a single dry season fire in Australia, and within 4 months there was no significant difference in the occurrence of individuals between burned and unburned areas. As cattle are the main seed vector for Z. mauritiana in northern Australia, the prevention of cattle movement between infested and uninfested pasture has been an important cultural approach to controlling the spread of this plant (Grice, 1998).
 
Physical/mechanical control
 
Grice et al. (1999) suggest that removal of entire plants is the most effective means of control. Cutting, combined with digging out all roots, is suitable for isolated plants, but larger groups require a combination of felling and herbicide application to prevent regrowth (Weber, 2003). Grice (1998) comments on the expense of mechanical techniques, as simple top killing methods are inadequate. In Queensland, Australia, mechanical control combined with basal herbicide treatment of the cut stumps is suggested for adult trees (Land Protection, 2006).
 
Movement control
 
Recent publications that promote Z. mauritiana as a potential crop for dry areas, such as Azam-Ali et al. (2006), make no mention of its potential as an invasive species, and thus international movements are not restricted, with the exception of those in the Pacific, where new introductions are not recommended following a high risk score in a weed risk assessment (PIER, 2007). Movement of Z. mauritiana is restricted by law in Australia due to its declared noxious weed status.
 
Biological control
 
No information is available on any biological control methods attempted on this species.
 
Chemical control

Z. mauritiana trees require a combination of felling and herbicide application to prevent regrowth (Weber, 2003). Herbicides can be applied as a foliar spray or directly to the basal bark area. Several repeat treatments are likely to be necessary (Weber, 2003). Grice (1998) notes that herbicide treatment is one of the few strategies available to control this plant because of its ability to resprout after fire and its capacity to resist most forms of mechanical control. In Australia, tryclopyr is recommended as a basal bark treatment or as a treatment for cut stumps of larger trees, with tryclopyr + picloram applied to the wet foliage of trees that are less than 2 m high. Land Protection (2006) provides a detail list of chemicals that are currently acceptable for use in Queensland, Australia. Treatment methods include basal bark and foliage sprays and soil applied granules.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Much work is being conducted on aspects of fruit production, breeding, propagation, etc. in Z. mauritiana; however, the only research on control is thought to occur in Australia, where further work is clearly required, including biocontrol studies.

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF WAC)http://www.worldagroforestry.org/

Organizations

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India: Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur 342 003, Rajasthan, http://www.hridir.org/countries/india/PROVCOUN/indian_council_of_agricultural_research/cental_arid_zone_icar/index.htm

India: Central Institute for Arid Horticultue (CIAH), Bikaner 334 006, Rajasthan

India: Harayana Agricultural University, Hisar 124 004, Harayana, http://hau.ernet.in/

Sri Lanka: The International Centre for Underutilized Crops (ICUC-IWMI), Colombo, http://www.icuc-iwmi.org/

Contributors

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15/08/2007 Updated by:

Nick Pasiecznik, Consultant, France

Distribution Maps

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