Also known as Jerusalem thorn, garland thorn, or crown of thorns, this deciduous shrub or small tree is native to the Mediterranean region and southwest and central Asia. It is a member of the hawthorn family, Rhamnaceae, that also inclues California lilac and jujube tree. The straggly plants grow 16-20′ tall and have zigzag pliable branches bearing ovate to round, leathery, glossy green leaves 3/4-1″ long. Each leaf is finely toothed and has a straight and a curved stipular spines on the outside of each twist. From July to August clusters of small greenish flowers appear and are followed by leathery, brownish yellow nutlets surrounded by a circular wing about 1″ across. Christ’s thorn is sometimes used as a hedge. The branches may have been used to make the crown of thorns placed on Christ’s head before the crucifixion but Ziziphus spina-christi (Christ’s thorn jujube) has also been suggested. The genus name, Paliurus, is the ancient Greek name for this species. The specific epithet, spina-christi, are the Latin words meaning thorns of Christ and refer to its supposed use at the crucifixion. Photo Credit Fritz Geller Grim Wikipedia
Type: Deciduous shrub or small tree
Outstanding Feature: Possible biblical crown of thorns
Form: Vase-shaped; straggly
Growth Rate: Slow to moderate
Bloom: Clusters of greenish small greenish yellow flowers from July to August
Size: 16-20′ H x 16-20′ W
Light: Full sun to light shade
Soil: Average, dry to medium moist, well-drained; tolerates drought and very alkaline conditions.
Hardiness: Zones 7-10
Care: Plants regrow from the base if cut back.
Pests and Diseases: Not available; resistant to honey fungus
Propagation: Seed, semi-ripe cuttings in summer, root cuttings in winter, layering
Outstanding Selections: None
Photo Credit: Photo Credit Fritz Geller Grim Wikipedia