Ziziphus obtusifolia

Common Name: Graythorn, Lotebush
Oˊodham Name: U:spaḍ   (U:spadt)   Audio
Group: Shrubs - Desert, Desert Grassland

Ziziphus obtusiflolia is a large, densely branched shrub that may reach 10 ft wide and tall. It inhabits coarse sandy soils between 1500 and 5000 ft elevation. Most of the year, the plant is leafless and the densely pubescent twigs lead to an overall grayish appearance. Twigs terminate in spines which, combined with the grayish stems, leads to the common name "graythorn". During early Spring and the summer monsoon, elliptical shaped, lightly pubescent leaves are abundantly produced and obscure the stems to give the plant an overall green appearance. Tiny orange flowers are produced mainly in the Spring. In late Spring, they are replaced by red fruit which become purple berries when ripe. The berries are an important food source for desert birds. Viewed from a distance, this species is often confused with Lycium exsertum.

entire plant
spiny branches
branches in August
twigs and leaves
ripe fruit

Kingdom Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Rhamnales
Family Rhamnaceae - Buckthorn family
Genus Ziziphus Mill. - jujube
Species Ziziphus obtusifolia (Hook. ex Torr. & A. Gray) A. Gray - lotebush
Variety Ziziphus obtusifolia (Hook. ex Torr. & A. Gray) A. Gray var. canescens (A. Gray) M.C. Johnst. - lotebush
More Information
USDA Plant Profile and Map

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