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Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba)
Anderson, Beth

Simmondsia chinensis

Simmondsia chinensis (Link) C.K. Schneid.

Jojoba, Goatnut, Quinine Plant, Coffeeberry

Simmondsiaceae (Jojoba Family)

Synonym(s): Buxus chinensis, Simmondsia californica


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This attractive, gray-green shrub is often considered evergreen but technically is deciduous with persistent leaves. Inconspicuous flowers occur on short axillary stems and are followed by green, acorn-like fruits on female plants. Stiff branched for a low mound shape; jojoba grows 4 1/2-6 ft., or more, tall. Bluish-green, medium-size shrub with low, broad appearance and leathery leaves. Very widely spreading.

Jojoba is emerging as a potentially important desert crop species. Its fruit is about 50 percent oil, of a quality similar to that of sperm whale oil. Unlike many other oils, it does not degrade by bacterial activity. It can be used in cosmetics, lubricants, in cooking, and as a wax for cars, while the pulp remaining after oil extraction can be fed to animals.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 15 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun


Native Distribution: S. AZ to s. CA & adjacent Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry slopes along washes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Rocky or sandy, barren soils.
Conditions Comments: Slow-growing. Tolerates a wide range of soils. Often used as a hedge or foundation plant.


Description: Propagation by seed is possible.
Seed Collection: To avoid seed loss, fruits should be picked while green. Dried fruits can be broken up in a macerator or hammer mill.
Seed Treatment: Seeds germinate without pretreatment.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Tohono Chul Park, Inc. - Tucson, AZ
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Simmondsia chinensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Simmondsia chinensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Simmondsia chinensis


Record Modified: 2022-10-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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