Paliurus spina-christi

Paliurus spina-christi

Paliurus spina-christi, commonly known as Jerusalem Thorn, Garland Thorn, Christ's Thorn, or Crown of Thorns, is a species of Paliurus native to the Mediterranean region and southwest and central Asia, from Morocco and Spain east to Iran and Tajikistan.

It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 3-4 m tall. The shoots are zig-zagged, with a leaf and two stipular spines (one straight, one curved) on the outside of each kink. The leaves are oval, 2-5 cm long and 1-4 cm broad, glossy green, with an entire margin. The fruit is a dry woody nutlet centred in a circular wing 2-3.5 cm diameter.

The name reflects an old legend that the spiny branches were used to make the crown of thorns placed on Christ's head before his crucifixion.

Synonyms include Paliurus aculeatus Lam., P. australis Gaertn., and Rhamnus paliurus L.


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