Ziziphus — a Multipurpose Fruit Tree for Arid Regions

  • S. K. Arndt
  • S. C. Clifford
  • M. Popp
Conference paper


The progressive desertification in many semiarid regions of the world increases the need for plants that can cope with arid environments and meet peoples’ requirements for food, fodder and fuel. Species of fruit trees in the genus Ziziphus represent examples of such multipurpose plants with great potential for selection and use in drought-prone regions.

Ziziphus trees and shrubs inhabit arid environments on every continent due to their versatility in being able to adapt to drought stress. They play an important role in the conservation of soil, with their strong root system which stabilizes the soil and protects it from erosion. The leaves provide fodder for livestock, the hard wood is used for turning, making agricultural implements, fuel and high quality charcoal. In many regions, Ziziphus is grown as a hedge, with its spines creating effective live-fencing, and with its highly nutritious fruits providing a valuable source of energy, vitamins and also income when sold on local markets. In addition, extracts from fruits, seeds, leaves, roots and bark of Ziziphus trees are used in many traditional medicines to alleviate the effects of insomnia, skin diseases, inflammatory conditions and fever. For these reasons, Ziziphus trees have an important role to play in the integrated economy of the arid lands.


Biogeography physiology drought stress fodder traditional medicines 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. K. Arndt
  • S. C. Clifford
  • M. Popp

There are no affiliations available

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