jujube book by richard ashton and roger meyer

quinoahFebruary 17, 2012


I plan to order richard ashtons book on jujubes together with his pomegranate book.

is the jujube book worth buying? unfortunately it seems there's no "look inside" available. I'd be mostly interested variety comparison like ripening time, size, taste, fresh or dried use,...

it seems the jujube primer by r.meyer is sold out everywhere. I didn`t even found a used book.

is there still a source for his book?


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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I read the Jujube book this winter. One thing it didn't give is ripening times, at least not that I remember. Ashton does divide the cultivars into several groups which helped some.

For what it's worth after reading the book and exchanging emails with Roger Meyer, who I found of limited help, I bought Li and Shanxi Li, Sugar Cane, Honey Jar, Sherwood, and GA 866.

Both the Li cultivars are the large fruited and similar. The others are for fresh eating. Ashton recommends Honey Jar as tops fresh eating and Li mostly for processing. I did pick up that Honey Jar is supposed to mature first, another plus for it. I choose Sherwood for a late maturing fresh eating type and few thorns.

My take away would be that Honey Jar, Li, and Sherwood would cover a long harvest season and give early and late fresh eating with a process type in between.

But this is all without growing any fruit. Maybe someone can give real first hand experience.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 9:55AM
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I have two Lis, a Sherwood, and planted a Sugarcane bare root this year. The Lis and Sherwood are grafted onto Indian Jujube; the Sugarcane (from DWN) is on a seedling rootstock. I live in Phoenix (9b).

Like figs, my Lis fruit twice a year. The first crop, generally sparse, ripens in June, producing small fruit that are average to subpar tasting. The second crop, heavy and significantly larger in size, ripens in September. The fall fruit is incredible -- really sweet, but still crunchy, which may be a consequence of our brutal summers.

Sherwood only produces ripe fruit in the fall and tends to bear every other year. Unlike Li, it is rather cylindrical in appearance. The taste is somewhat similar, but the fruit is more ovoid and smaller than my Lis.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 5:20PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

We have a Sherwood by our driveway. Our summer high temps generally run about 10 degrees lower than Phoenix. Here, Sherwood bears in the late summer and fall, usually in two or three waves. The first crop is the best here. The waves on newer growth produce smaller fruit, and the last wave often gets caught by cold weather. I have not noticed a biennial bearing habit here.

Thornlessness and an interesting narrow, weeping habit to the tree (with zig-zag branches) are advantages if you want a tree for the front yard. The rootstock is very thorny and tends to sucker. Often the suckers bloom soon after they appear. We cut our tree back to about 9 feet this year, and it still has a graceful look.

The fruits of this variety taste best when fully brown or nearly fully brown, but lose quality fast if they start to shrivel on the tree. Not one for dried fruit, I think. I tried candying some once, and the skins seemed too leathery or plastic-like for this use, too. So descriptions of this fruit as a fresh variety seem on point to me.

Incidentally, years ago I worked at the same company as Roger Meyer did in his "day job". He was one busy guy back then. Every once in a while, we would hear that he had taken vacation to give a lecture on kiwis in Australia or something. Don't know if he still has a full-time job in addition to his fruit business.

L.E. Cooke (wholesaler) has branched out beyond Lang and Li. There may be more information in their full, downloadable catalog.

Here is a link that might be useful: L.E. Cooke Jujubes

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 11:12PM
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Ashton & Meyer, you cant go wrong with those 2. I've read their books but the details are kinda fuzzy. I'll copy & paste from Meyer's website; My results from a dozen trees track his; but note that geograpy has an effect. Tigertooth/Silverhill is considered great in humid Florida, but its mediocre in Dallas. From http://www.jujubesales.com/Jujube-Scionwood.php


Li: Beautiful Chinese introduction by Frank Meyer. Large round fruit up 3 ounces in mid-August. May be picked at the yellow-green stage. Best eaten fresh. Best single tree to have. Early fruiting.

Li 2: NEW! This came to me as Li, but the fruit and the tree itself are obviously different from the Li above. The fruit is very large and ripens several weeks later than the Li. Tree has one hooked spine and one dagger spine.

LANG: Large, pear-shaped fruit - late ripening and must be fully red to be best. Some fruit may split and soften before ripening. Leave these on the tree to dry. This is the best for dried fruit. The tree is very upright and virtually thornless.

SHERWOOD: A seedling plant from Louisiana. Fruit is very dense and excellent. The tree is very narrow and upright with leaves that are a weeping habit. Very late ripening fruit.

SHUI MEN: From the TVA project in Tennessee. Fruit is elongated and excellent fresh or dried.

SO: A tree of most beautiful shape. At each node of the stem the branch decides to go off in a different direction. Hence, very zig zag branching. Tree seems to be somewhat dwarfed. Fruit is early.

SILVERHILL: An elongated fruit from Georgia. Very late fruit to ripen. Crops well even in northern Florida.

GA866: One of the selections from the breeding program at Chico. Outstandingly sweet fruit with sugar levels approaching 45%! Large, elongated fruit. Excellent!

SUGAR CANE: Small to medium sized fruit which are round to somewhat elongated. Extremely sweet and crunchy fruit but on a very spiny plant. The fruit is worth the spines!

TSAO: From Pennsylvania with the fruit pointed at both ends. Tsao is the Chinese name for the jujube (actually "date" or "apple"). Excellent, sweet mid-season variety.

GI 7-62: From the Chico Research Program. Fruit is round but flattened to an unusual shape. Excellent, sweet taste. A real surprise! It was named "Chico" by Paul Thompson of the California Rare Fruit Growers.

GI-1183: Also from the research program. Excellent fruit of medium to large size. Late harvest.

THORNLESS: Fruit similar to Lang but may not be identical to it. It is virtually thornless.

ADMIRAL WILKES: From the Capitol grounds in Washington D.C. This plant is one of the progeny from the Wilkes expedition to the South Seas in 1842. Elongated like Silverhill and the very last to ripen.

TEXAS TART: A high acid, tart fruit from the campus of Texas Tech University, Lubbock. Small, very sweet, raisin-like fruit when dried.

TOPEKA: Collected from Mellinger's Clinic in Kansas. Very nice, crispy sweet fruit. Late harvest.

ED HEGARD: From Alabama. Fruit similar to Lang and also virtually thornless.

REDLANDS #4: Collected from an old homestead in Redlands, Ca. Very large, sweet, round fruit. Mid season.

YU: One of the original introductions by Frank Meyer. Claimed to be one of the best eating jujube.

FITZGERALD: From Georgia. Small, round fruit which are almost black when fully ripe.

ABBEVILLE: From Louisiana. An elongated fruit on a very prolific plant. Loads of small to medium fruit.

JIN: Excellent either fresh or dried. Mid season.

PORTERVILLE: An unknown seedling from Porterville, CA. Fruit is round and unusually bumpy.

HONEY JAR: A new Chinese cultivar with small but absolutely unique, sweet taste for use fresh or dried.

ANT ADMIRE: Another Chinese cultivar with elongated fruit eaten fresh. Mid season harvest. Excellent.

SEPTEMBER LATE: Used fresh or dried--mid to late harvest. Fruit is elongated

GLOBE: Very large, round fruit which are best dried. Late season

SIHONG: Excellent, large, round fruit--mid season.

SHANXI LI: NEW! First time offered in US. Extremely large fruit with great flavor.

MU: NEW! Introduced into the US by Frank Meyer nearly 80 years ago, then lost. Recently found in an obscure botanical garden.

DON POLENSKI: NEW! Similar to Lang but a better, crisper flavor.

SUI: A newly rediscovered cultivar listed by Frank Meyer

6 NEW RUSSIAN CULTIVARS: 1) Kitaiski 2, 2) Kitaiski 60, 3) Oo Sene Hun, 4) 29-16 TOC, 5) Sovietski, and 6) Ta Yan Tsao (probably Lang)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 8:07AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I have both of those books. Roger's book isn't exactly a book, its a spiral bound collection of notes, papers, etc. I found it very useful because there was basically nothing else available discussing jujubes in depth, but now that Ashton's book is out I have not looked at Rogers book in a long time. Ashton's book has a lot of good information in it. The variety descriptions are not all that much longer however. Here is one for example: CHICO OR GI 7-62 - American bred variety from the Chico Research Program. Fruit is round but flattened to an unusual shape like little
pumpkins. Excellent fresh fruit with an "apple-like" sweet-acid taste. It was named Chico by Paul Thompson of the California Rare Fruit Growers. Good either fresh or dried. Mid-late season ripening. Developed at the Chico Station (Breeder - Dr.Ackerman.)

It also has stuff like jujube varieties by use, e.g. Fresh Eating Group
Li Group
Chico (GI 7-62)
Honey Jar
GA 866
Sugar Cane
Kitaiska #60
Ant Admire

Even though the book is long most of the pages are stuff like a history of how Frank Meyer first brought jujubes back to the US, the Chico breeding program, etc. Its interesting reading but is not about growing jujubes per se. Still, I think his book is well worth the $$. I have the electronic version and I search it all the time on my computer, for example search grafting for grafting tips etc.

In terms of varieties I notice Roger is charging more for Shanxi Li and I know why, its an excellent all-around fruit: very large and nearly as good as the best tasting ones. I also like Honey Jar and Sugar Cane a lot.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 8:34AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I'm happy with the varieties I'm trying but found the experience of selecting varieties about like most, the seller says they are all great. Twice I requested variety suggestions from Meyer and even the second time after better describing my climate got nothing back. His variety descriptions listed above are just what he sent me. I guess that must seem sufficient to him. But to me they all sound like the greatest ever, about like any nursery.

At least Ashton tells you what he likes best, Honey Jar for fresh. And he said he found GA 866 as not tasting very sweet, whereas Meyer says it's up to 45% sugar. Nothing is that sweet unless dried.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 9:42AM
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If I had to pick one, I'd pick Li. I suspect Sherwood is the best for a late jujube, but mine hasn't fruited yet. Meyer sells both trees & fruit, & he told me most of the fruit he sells are Li & Sherwood. Honeyjar & Sugarcane are great, but small. Contorted So is prolific & as good as Li, but small. I'm waiting on my Shansi Li to Fruit. I like Shihong a lot, & Autumn Beauty is pretty good.

My disapointments have been Tigertooth/Silverhill, Winter Delight (sawdust taste fresh, but pretty good dried, maybe its second year to fruit will be better), and GA866 which hasn't fruited in 6 years & may have died this winter.

The Lang gets a bum wrap from some nurseries. Its my best dried jujube, but its also very good fresh, it just has to be completely brown; its late ripening too

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 11:17AM
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thanks for all the info!
I'll also order ashtons jujube book and cant wait to get it.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 12:54PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Scott and bhawkins:

Thanks for the recommendations. That's what I needed. It still sounds like my selections are good with the possible exception of GA 866. Wish I had Lang instead but can get it later.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 2:31PM
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I agree with 'fruitnut' that Meyer is not helpful in choosing variety for you.

My biggest mistake was getting GA866 from him swayed by the 45% sugar content. My GA866 has been in the ground for fives years and grow 12 feet tall and did not bear any fruits.

I have anothth Li Jujubee that just 5 feet away that was planted the same year. But the graft must be eaten by the rabbit and inferior fruit comes up two year year ago. I graft Honey Jar and SO on it last year and it fruited right away even though it is smaller tree than GA866. Both fruits taste sweet even graft branches were late in the season and fruits were still green. This year it bears a lot.

I also grafted Sugar Cane and So on two side branches of GA866. SO bear a few tasty fruits right away last year. Sugar cane did not bear any. This year the So branch bear more fruits but nothing comes up from Sugar Cane and all GA866 branches.

My suggestion is Honey Jar, and SO which is zig zag good looking.

My friend's Li fruit is very big and tasty. I have grafted it on GA866 this year. Hopefully it will bear some fruit this year.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 3:57PM
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Hey Everyone,

I'm interested in testing a couple jujubes in Seattle, WA (8B). I'm basically looking for the earliest varieties since we have trouble accumulating heat units most years. From reading above it sounds like Honey Jar might be a good choice for quality & earliness.

Any recommendations would be appreciated.



    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 12:44AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Sugar Cane is very early maturity, bears at a very young age, and is very sweet. But I find all the jujubes to have poor flavor. And my sugar cane fruit was the size of sour cherries. A friend with a tree here says his are the same size, absolutely puny. I feel I wasted $200 on my 6 trees.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 9:36AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Dave, I doubt that jujubes will mature in Seattle, they like heat and they are late fruits. Some of mine are still not ripe and I get tons of heat. If you want to be sure check with One Green World or Raintree, they know Seattle fruit growing conditions since they are in the area and sell jujubes.

I just are my first Chico fruits yesterday, they were not completely ripe but freezes are coming soon. It was OK, not one of the best and not one of the worst.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 9:54AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Here's a picture of Honey Jar jujube vs Arctic Snow nectarine that matured at the same time. The nectarine has vastly better flavor IMO.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 9:59AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

In my earlier post I misfired on the name. I meant to say Honey Jar is very small, not Sugar Cane. Sugar cane is bigger and somewhat later than Honey Jar. It's still not very big but about twice the size of Honey Jar.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 10:08AM
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How did Honey Jar taste vs Sugarcane?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 11:40AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

To me neither one tastes good but they are eatable, basically survival food, not much more. I'd chose Sugar Cane because of the larger size. This is my first year with fruit, They were planted last winter so they are very precocious.

And to the earlier question about maturity, my Honey Jar had ripe fruit in July. We do get way more heat than Seattle but this isn't a late maturing fruit.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 11:52AM
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Wow fruitnut, that's one tiny jujube! I've grown about 10 varieties and have never seen one That small; other than the ones that grow up from the rootstock.

I have a couple every day for breakfast, they seem kinda like tiny apples to me, but a little different

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 2:06PM
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Jujubes definitely act differently depending on which zone they're grown, with the likely exception of Li. Sugarcane does well for me in Arizona, but a lot of people have issues with it in the East. Likewise, I'm afraid of Honey Jar -- Easterners seem to get fruit that is somewhat small however, Fruitnut's experience in Texas suggests that the fruit that I'll get here in Arizona will be tiny. There also seems to be a humidity requirement for some varieties like GA866 and Sherwood that seem to do well in the South, but barely fruit elsewhere.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 11:00PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

GA866 and Sherwood fruit well nowhere, mine are still barren in their 8th or so year.

Fruitnut, I love my Honey Jars and my kids do too. But they are a different kind of fruit, I can see how some people would not like them. A few days ago I ate a super-ripe GoldRush just bursting with intense flavors and the jujubes I ate right after tasted like cardboard. But later by themselves their flavor came out well.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 11:14PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


How big are your Honey Jar fruits? I watered and fertilized my tree a lot hoping to get graftwood for friends. But that didn't result in big fruit even though I thinned. Mine is a first year tree so maybe the fruit will be bigger next year.

But even if the fruit is bigger next year I don't expect the flavor to improve. And Honey Jar ripens at the same time as some of my best stone fruit. Everything else I grow has better flavor by far.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:27AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Fruitnut, my recollection is about 3/4". So yours do look a little small. Jujube duds do occur, smaller fruits with no flavor. Sugar Cane made several duds this year. I never had all of them do that however.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 12:06PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I might have had a few approach 3/4 inch, probably 5/8 average for mine. Pathetic, with that flavor, double pathetic.

My sweet cherries average over 1.25 inch.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 12:18PM
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Can you send me some scionwood of Shanxi Li next year? I can pay shipping and some extra. Since you are not far from PA and the scionwood would be better. I ordered some scionwood from Roger Meyer last year and 1/3 of those were dead.



    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 3:14PM
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Fruitnut, I've had some varieties taste good one year& bad the next; & vice versa. Maybe next year will be better?

Look at the bright side. There's a Korean saying that the daughters of Jujube farmers never have any trouble getting married, as they're all so beautiful.....(hasn't help my looks yet, but I keep trying)

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Greentree, if you send me an email this winter when it is dormant I will send you some wood. It is an excellent jujube.

I have found Roger to be very busy and hard to get orders through, but at least the stock I got from him was good.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 8:42PM
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Thanks Scott. I enjoy reading your post. Very useful info.

I will drop your a e-mail in late January.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 9:36PM
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Taste my first Li today. It is not as sweet and juicy as Honey Jar. But the flavor is better than Sugar Cane and So.

Honey Jar is on the smaller side but I would choose it over Sugar Cane for its flavor.

Next year I will try to get some dry fruit and see how they are fair. Dry jujube is very popular food among Asian community.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 10:07PM
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gponder(7/South OR)

Roger Meyer's book is still available at http://www.crfg.org/pubs/booksCRFG.html

I have bought all my plant material from Roger throughout the years. I've never been disappointed. I appreciate his efforts in bringing most of the cultivars we have available to us to the states.

We grow about 15 different varieties.and have about 75 trees. Every year is different. This year the quality was excellent.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 12:24AM
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My grafted Shanxi Li starts to bud now. All of them seem taken. Plus my own Li variety, I did total 18 grafts. Only one is knocked off yesterday by lawn cutting person.

My previous experience tell me that newly grafted wood will bear some fruits.

Thanks again for providing scion wood.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 11:08PM
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Has any one ever Ried coco jujube? Or can any one help who has experience in zone 6 with jujubes. Which ones will fruit in zone 6? I have ordered like, sugarcane, and coco. I hope I chose well!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 5:41PM
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I'm in awe of your home orchard. I am trying my hand at one in MD also, and have many of the same types of fruits as yourself, but far fewer varieties! You really have made the best of a lovely big yard. I would love to hear your recommendations about Jujubes for our climate. Still no fruit from your Sherwood? I've heard other people complain of that from time to time. I'm looking for something which will taste good dried--have you tried all of your varieties dried yet? And I want something with fewer (or no) thorns, without compromising on flavor. Have you had problematic suckering from your Jujubes? I've seen complaints about this too.

Thanks in advance for your words of advice!
By the way, what in part of MD are you located?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:09AM
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I am trying to contact roger meyer for jujube plants. I couldn't get in touch with him. did anyone tried to contact him for plants for this season?

Is there any other source for shanxi Li variety.

Thank you,

    Bookmark   March 9, 2015 at 10:55AM
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