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Simmondsia chinensis - (Link) C.K.Schneid.

Common Name Jojoba
Family Simmondsiaceae
USDA hardiness 9-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Well drained desert soils - sandy alluviums, coarse gravel and clay mixes and loams[200 ].
Range Southwestern N. America - California, Arizona, northwest Mexico..
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Simmondsia chinensis Jojoba
Simmondsia chinensis Jojoba - Katja Schulz from Washington, D. C., USA


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Simmondsia chinensis is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Wind. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid, very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Buxus chinensis Link


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed
Edible Uses:

Seed - raw or cooked. Often parched and then eaten[299 ]. It is also been made into a well-flavoured drink similar to coffee[299 ].


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The wax obtained from the seed is applied to the skin in order to alleviate the effects of psoriasis, sores, wounds and other skin afflictions[299 ]. It has been used traditionally as a medicine for cancer, kidney disorders, colds, dysuria, obesity, parturition, aching eyes and warts, and to treat baldness[299 ].


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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: Planted in arid areas as a means of preventing soil erosion[200 ]. The plant makes an attractive clipped hedge[418 ]. Other Uses: A liquid wax is obtained from the seed[299 ]. After ripening and harvesting in the summer, the seeds are crushed and give a liquid wax yield of about 50% by weight[289 ]. This wax, often referred to as jojobe oil, is a unique unsaturated oil composed of non-glyceride esters consisting almost entirely of straight-chain acids and alcohols[299 ]. These compounds are difficult to synthesise commercially and the only other source is the sperm whale[289 ]. The waxes are indigestible, odourless and clear, the processes of isomerisation, hydrogenation and sulphur-chloride treatments produce a range of products from thick creams to crystalline waxes to oils and rubbers[289 ]. Jojoba wax, and especially its sulphur-containing derivatives, are stable at high temperatures, which make them suitable as components of industrial oils, as additives in high pressure and high-temperature lubricants for transformers and gear systems, and as cutting and drawing oils in metal working. The oil or derivatives have potential as a motor fuel. Jojoba methyl-ester fuel runs more quietly than conventional diesel fuel and releases no sulphur. The liquid wax can be converted to a hard wax used, for example, in manufacturing candles. Other applications have been found in the manufacture of linoleum and printing inks[299 ]. The composition of jojoba wax enables it to withstand high temperatures of up to 300°c since it has a flash point of 295°c, a fire point of 338°c, and a low volatility. Jojoba wax has properties similar to the oil secreted by human skin and can be used to lubricate skin and hair for protection against e.g. ultraviolet radiation. The wax is relatively nontoxic, biodegradable and resistant to rancidity[299 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming


Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Wax  Management: Standard  New Crop  Other Systems: Strip intercrop

A plant of arid regions in the subtropics, it can also be cultivated in arid tropical areas at elevations up to 1,500 metres[299 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 21 - 36°c, but can tolerate 10 - 50 with an absolute high of 55°c[299 , 418 ]. Plants require at least one month of lower temperatures, around 15 - 20°c, in order to break dormancy of flower buds - at constantly high temperatures jojoba never flowers[289 ]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -10°c, but young plants are very susceptible to frost damage[299 , 418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 250 - 800mm, but tolerates 100 - 2,000mm[418 ]. Requires a sunny position in a well-drained light to medium soil[200 ]. Tolerates saline soils[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 7.5, tolerating 5 - 8.2[299 ]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[303 ]. Plants are slow-growing[299 ]. In cultivation, male plants may start flowering 2 years after planting and female ones up to 1 year later. Flowering occurs on new growth only and is initiated by low temperatures. Cultivars with different chilling requirements have been selected[299 ]. The plant comes into full bearing in 7 - 8 years, and can bear fruit for 100 - 200 years[418 ]. Flower buds may remain dormant until sufficient moisture is available[299 ]. Prolonged drought may lead to abortion of flower buds and young fruits[299 ]. Under favourable conditions, plants can live for longer than 100 years[289 ]. In more difficult conditions they can survive as small stunted shrubs[289 ]. Plans have a long tap root that is able to penetrate as deep as 25 metres into the soil in search of moisture[289 ]. Thus established plants are very drought tolerant[289 ]. Yields of up to 4.5 tonnes of wax per hectare are believed possible, though in practice 3.5 tonnes is the maximum achieved[289 ]. The plant is dioecious (female and male flowers are found on separate bushes). One male plant for every 5 or so females is required for optimum seed production.

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Wax  Water resistant, malleable substances. Currently, most commercial wax is made from paraffin - a fossil fuel.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • New Crop  Most new crops were important wild plants until recently, although some are the result of hybridization. They have been developed in the last few, decades. What they have in common is that they are currently cultivated by farmers. Examples include baobab, argan, and buffalo gourd.
  • Other Systems: Strip intercrop  Tree crops grown in rows with alternating annual crops.


Temperature Converter

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Seed - sow in a sunny position in situ or in a nursery seedbed, preferably in slightly alkaline sand or in vermiculite at temperatures of 27 - 38°c[299 ]. After germination, the plant forms a deeply penetrating taproot (which can reach 10 metres or more in mature plants), which can be 60cm long before the emergence of the shoot[299 ]. The seed stores fairly well - germination is good even after 6 months, but viability is reduced to less than 40% after 10 years of seed storage at ambient conditions[299 ]. Cuttings. Propagation by softwood cuttings from selected shrubs that have been treated with IBA can be used. The cuttings are best planted in a nursery under mist. Cuttings take 25 - 40 days to strike root. Fivenode cuttings, taken from actively growing plants, give plants with a strongly growing root system[299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Goat-nut, Pignut, coffeeberry, quinine plant, wild hazel,pig nut, jojoba, gray box bush, goat nut, deer nut, coffee bush

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Central America, Costa Rica, East Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Haiti, Indochina, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico*, North Africa, North America, Paraguay, Peru, Saudi Arabia, SE Asia, South Africa, Southern Africa, South America, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, USA, West Africa

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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(Link) C.K.Schneid.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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Subject : Simmondsia chinensis  
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