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Florida Jujube

The Florida Jujube (Ziziphus celata) is a shrub that can grow 6 feet tall. It is nearly extinct. This plant is endemic to central Florida. Jujube prefers to grow in open sunny areas prone to fire.

The Florida jujube once occupied sand scrubs as well as longleaf pine and wiregrass savannahs. Much of these areas have been lost to citrus orchards and residential development. Jujubes are drought and fire tolerant. They can resprout vegetatively following a fire. Fire suppression has undoubtedly contributed to its rarity as broad-leafed trees shade them out.

The Florida Jujube has small, rounded leaves and orange fruits. The branches all have sharp, distinctive thorns. The fragrant blooms are pale yellow and are attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds. Jujube fruit is similar in taste and texture to an apple when ripe and similar to raisins when they dry. The bush-like tree is a heavy producer of fruit which ripens from December to March.

Sadly, this interesting native plant is listed as endangered by the U.S. and state of Florida. This status is due to habitat destruction of the remaining and rare scrub habitat it needs to thrive. Efforts are being made to protect Florida jujube and the rare scrub habitat it is found in. Because Extinct is Forever.

#ImagineOurFlorida #IOF #Jujube #scrub

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