Ziziphus mauritiana, also known as Chinese date, Chinee apple, Indian plum, Indian jujube and dunks is a tropical fruit tree species belonging to the family Rhamnaceae.Ber is a medium sized tree that grows vigorously. It can be deciduous or evergreen depending upon the climate. It is well adapted to drought conditions and have a rapidly developing taproot system. It is known for its ability to withstand adverse conditions, such as salinity, drought and waterlogging. The species varies widely in height, from a shrub 2m tall to a tree 10m to 12m tall with a trunk diameter of about 30 cm. Ber tree may be erect or wide-spreading, with drooping thorny branches. Fruit is eaten fresh or dried and are used as a condiment. Also used for candy making and pickling. The fruit is a good source of carotene, vitamins A and C, and fatty oils. A refreshing drink is prepared by macerating fruits in water. Plant pacifies vitiated pitta, kapha, obesity, fever, burning sensations, cough, wound, skin disease, ulcers, stomatitis, diarrhea, sexual weakness, and general debility.
In India, the leaves are also gathered to feed tasar silkworms; tasar silk, highly prized, is the only silk commercially exploited in the tropics. Z. mauritiana produces excellent firewood and good charcoal.
The wood is used for general construction, furniture and cabinet work, tool handles, agricultural implements, tent pegs, golf clubs, gun stocks,harrows, toys, turnery, household utensils, baseball bats, chisels and packaging. It is also suitable for the production of veneer and plywood. The bark, including the root bark, has served in tanning and yields brown and grey or reddish dyes.
Ziziphus Mauritiana trees are a host for the lac insects which are found on the leaves and make an orange-red resinous substance. The purified resin makes the high-quality ber shellac that is used in fine lacquer work and to produce sealing wax and varnish.