desert_apricot

A group of us went out early to gather prickly pear fruits from the pancake prickly pear, but wandering around with my camera, I found another fruit I had not seen before. We thought this was the desert apricot, but it turns out it is Ziziphus parryi var. parryi. Please read the comments below from Maurie Beck who corrected our identification.

In Daniel Moerman’s Native American Ethnobotany, Moerman lists 3 Cahuilla uses for Ziziphus parryi as a food:
1. the fruit is eaten fresh
2. the fruit is dried and ground into flour for mush
3. the nutlet is ground into a flour
This info is based on Temalpakh by Katherine Siva Saubel and Lowell Bean,where they list the plant as Condalia parryi, and Maurie Beck mentions that there has been a name change to the current one for this plant: Ziziphus parryi.

I tasted a few and found them sweet, nicely chewy, and certainly a delicacy in the pinyon-juniper woodland where we found the shrubs.

desert apricot

Posted by deborah small

4 Comments

  1. Leslie Mouriquand August 31, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Hi Deb,

    I have gathered a large bowlfull of the fruit and will try to make some jam out of it and save the seeds to grind. Do you know if the seeds need to be leached for cyanide concerns?

    Leslie

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    1. hi leslie, i do not know about the seeds. that’s a really good question. it is in the family Rhamnaceae, the Buckthorn family, but that probably doesn’t help. i imagine the jam will be delicious. deborah

      > Author : Leslie Mouriquand (IP: 158.61.0.254 , 158.61.0.254) > E-mail : pinyonsap@aol.com > URL : > Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=158.61.0.254

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  2. deborah small July 4, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Dear Maurie Beck,

    Thank you very much for the correction. I really appreciate it. This
    morning, I’ve been doing a little research to follow up on your email.
    Wayne Armstrong, a botanist at Palomar College, writes that the two plants
    are frequently misidentified.
    http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ecoph17.htm

    Anna Bennett, a San Diego CNPS botanist who posted photos at the CalPhoto
    database, has some images that look identical to mine, and she has
    identified them, as you do, as Ziziphus parryi, Lotebush. Again, I found
    this information via a google search.
    http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?enlarge=0000+0000+0809+0782

    In Daniel Moerman’s Native American Ethnobotany, Moerman lists 3 Cahuilla
    uses for Ziziphus parryi as a food:
    the fruit is eaten fresh
    the fruit is dried and ground into flour for mush
    the nutlet is ground into a flour
    This info is based on Temalpakh by Katherine Siva Saubel and Lowell Bean,
    where they list the plant as Condalia parryi, and you mention there has
    been a name change.

    Are the common names for this plant lotebush, Parry’s jujube and desert
    jujube?

    If you have any more information about this plant, or can point me in a
    direction where I might find more, I would greatly appreciate it, and will
    share it with the people I work with in southern California Native
    American communities. I didn’t find much with a google search.

    Thank you.
    Deborah Small

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  3. You have misidentified this plant as desert apricot (Prunus fremontii). This is Ziziphus parryi var. parryi or Condaliopsis parryi (There has been a recent name change. Desert apricot has serrate leaves and the drupaceous fruit is dehicsent along one line when ripe. The plant above (Ziziphus parryi) has entire leaves and the fruit contains a seed with 3 ovules that does not dehicse.

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