Theodore Payne California Native Plant Database

Simmondsia chinensis

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Simmondsia chinensis
Simmondsia chinensis

Species Name: Simmondsia chinensis
Common Name: Jojoba

A great shrub for dry areas, especially high desert gardens. Female plants produce the highly prized Jojoba oil. Fruit is edible, seeds are an important source of wildlife forage.

Plant Family: Simmondsiaceae
Plant Type: Shrub
Height by Width: 6-10' H x 8' W
Growth Habit: Dense
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Rate: Slow to establish, then moderate
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Soil Preference: Well-draining
Water Requirements: Drought-tolerant to occasional
Cold Hardy to: 15 degrees F
Flower Season: Spring
Flower Color: Yellow
Endangered?: Not Listed
Distribution: Western Peninsular Ranges, San Jacinto Mountains, Sonoran Desert, Northern Mexico
Natural Habitat: Arid areas below 4800'


Care and Maintenance

  • Introduced into cultivation in California by Theodore Payne.
  • From California Native Plants, Theodore Payne's 1941 catalog: "A rather stiff growing much branched shrub with grayish green foliage, from the desert regions. Excellent for planting on dry banks and hillsides. Gallon cans, 50c."
Other Names
  • Bornstein, Carol, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien. California Native Plants for the Garden. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 2005.
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