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Indigenous Jujube tree

Scientific name:Ziziphus abyssinica;

Local name(s): Mukusi, Masau, Mwichechete (T)

General information

Ziziphus abyssinica is found growing in arid or dry tropical and subtropical regions, with severe heat and slight frost. It occurs at medium to low altitudes, in open woodland, open grassland and along riverbanks; it reaches its southernmost limit along the southern escarpment of the Zambezi Valley. The tree grows throughout Zambia except for 5 districts in the northwest corner.

Health benefits

Ash from the burnt leaves is mixed with salt and applied on the throat to relieve tonsillitis. A fomentation of steaming hot leaves soaked in boiling water are used as on the chest to treat pneumonia.


Human benefits

 The sweet fruits are edible, and the leaves may be cooked as a vegetable. Ziziphus abyssinica is an excellent tree for bees, both pollen and nectar being easily available. The species is a source of firewood and is used in the production of charcoal. The dark brown to black wood is heavy, hard and resistant to termites and tools. It is used mainly as poles to fence kraals and villages and to cover graves. It is also used for furniture, interior work and carving. Ziziphus abyssinica is also used in tanning. The bark yields a cinnamon-colored dye.

Livestock benefits

 Ziziphus abyssinica is browsed by livestock in spite of its thorns, and it is cultivated as a fodder crop.