AZ Arboretums

Simmondsia chinensis

Desert zinnia

Common: Jojoba, Goatnut, Coffee bush
Family: Buxaceae
Origin: Native to deserts of Southern California, Arizona and Mexico
Sunset Zone: 10-13, 19-24
Light: Full sun and heat
Soil: Most soils, well drained
Water: Little water

Of particular value as clipped hedge, foundation planting in desert garden. Dense, rigid branches, somewhat irregular.

Spreading shrub 2-6 (rarely to 16) ft. tall and 3-6 feet wide. Dull gray-green , oval, leathery leaves are 1-2 in. long to 1/2 in. wide, cover plant to the ground, set in upward-pointing pairs.

Leaves are arranged somewhat vertical on stems so that perspiration will be minimal.

Flowers are inconspicuous. Male and female blooms are borne on different plants; if both are present, female plants bear an edible, nutlike fruit about 3/4 in. long.

Flavor like filbert, slightly bitter until cured. High oil content of fruit gives plant commercial value as crop for marginal land.

Long history of uses, indicated by its various common names. Used as a coffee substitute by Indians and white settlers.

For additional history and information on the jojoba, see The History and Promise of Jojoba by Gary Tremper.