Ziziphus spina-christi (L.) Willd.: a multipurpose fruit tree

Abstract

Neglected and underutilized species often play a vital role in securing food and livestock feed, income generation and energy needs of rural populations. In spite of their great potential little attention has been given to these species. This increases the possibility of genetic erosion which would further restrict the survival strategies of people in rural areas. Ziziphus spina-christi is a plant species that has edible fruits and a number of other beneficial applications that include the use of leaves as fodder, branches for fencing, wood as fuel, for construction and furniture making, and the utilization of different parts e.g. Fruits, leaves, roots and bark in folk medicine. Moreover, the plant is adapted to dry and hot climates which make it suitable for cultivation in an environment characterized by increasing degradation of land and water resources. Lack of research in Z. spina-christi hinders its successful improvement and promotion. Therefore, studies are needed to fully exploit this species. This article aims at summarizing information on different aspects of Z. spina-christi to stimulate interest in this crop which is of importance in Sudan and other countries of the semi-arid tropics.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Both Z. spina-christi (L.) Willd. (e.g. Browicz and Zieliński 1977 in Flora Iranica 125, Wood 1997 in Handb. Yemen Flora, Chaudhary 2001 in Flora Saudia Arabia 2 [1]) and Z. spina-christi (L.) Desf. (e.g. Vollesen 1989 in Flora Ethiopia 3, Boulos 2000 in Flora Egypt 2, Greuter et al. 1989 in Med-Checklist 4) occur in the recent literature. Therefore, a brief study was necessary to clarify the correct nomenclatural position of this taxon which led to the following conclusion: Z. spina-christi (L.) Willd., Sp. Pl. 1 (July 1798) 1105; (L.) Desf., Fl. Atlant. 1 (1798, publ. Febr. 1799) 210. Basionym: Rhamnus spina-christi L., Sp. Pl. (1753) 195.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for granting a Georg Forster Research Fellowship to the first author.

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Correspondence to Amina Sirag Saied.

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Saied, A.S., Gebauer, J., Hammer, K. et al. Ziziphus spina-christi (L.) Willd.: a multipurpose fruit tree. Genet Resour Crop Evol 55, 929–937 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-007-9299-1

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Keywords

  • Agroforestry
  • Christ’s thorn
  • Indigenous fruit trees
  • Siddir
  • Sudan
  • Wild fruit species
  • Ziziphus spina-christi