Ziziphus vulgaris var. spinosa Bunge, Enum. Pl. China Bor. 14. 1833 ["spinosus"]; Z. sativa var. spinosa (Bunge) C. K. Schneider; Z. spinosa (Bunge) Hu ex F. H. Chen (1937), not Saint-Lager (1880).
Plants often shrubs. Branches erect, not tortuous, with spines. Leaves small. Drupe subglobose or broadly oblong, small, 0.7-1.2 cm in diam.; mesocarp sour-tasting, thin; stone obtuse at both ends. Fl. Jun-Jul, fr. Aug-Sep. 2n = 24*.
● Hills, sunny dry slopes, plains. Anhui, Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Xinjiang.
The seeds are used medicinally for relieving muscle spasms, as a tranquilizer, or to treat insomnia. The fruit is thin, but rich in vitamins, and is eaten fresh or used for making jam. The flowers are fragrant and rich in nectar, so the variety is considered an important honey plant in N China. Because of the spiny branches, it is often planted to form hedges.