Economic Botany

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 261–295

The natural history of Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) and its cultural aspects


  • Howard Scott Gentry
    • U. S. Department of AgricultureCrops Research Division, Agricultural Research Service

DOI: 10.1007/BF02859772

Cite this article as:
Gentry, H.S. Econ Bot (1958) 12: 261. doi:10.1007/BF02859772


Simmondsia chinensis is unique in many ways. Endemic to the Sonoran Desert of Mexico and the United States, its broad, persistent, heavy leaves are unlike any of its associates. Its large edible seeds contain about 50% oil, which is directly used as a cooking oil and as a hair oil. The oil has excellent qualities for many industrial and medicinal uses. Chemically it is a liquid wax and by hydrogenation is easily converted to a hard white wax. Jojoba’s singular characteristics as a desert shrub, however, present many problems facing its development as a cultivated plant.

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© The New York Botanical Garden 1958