Location in BHU campus : Planted in Horticulture garden. Also can be found growing wildly in fields and other open areas .
Botanical name : Ziziphus mauritiana Lamk Syn Z. Jujuba Lamk
Family : Rhamnaceae
Vernacular / local Name : Bengali-Ber, kool; Gujarati- Bor, bordi; Hindi-Ber; Kannada-Elanji, yalachi; Malayalam- Elentha; Marathi-Bera, bor; Oriya-Bodokolli, bodori; Sanskrit-Ajapriya, badara, karkandhu, kuvala, madhuraphala; Tamil-Elandai, Yellande; Telugu-Gangareegu, karakandhavu, reegu.
English /Trade names : Indian Jujube, Common Jujube
A small evergreen tree or a bushy shrub, 3-9 m high, with stipular prickles. Leaves oblong or elliptic- ovate, with white or buff hairs on the undersides, prominently 3-nerved. Flowers 5-6 mm diameter, greenish yellow, dense in axillary cymes or fascicles. Fruit a fleshy drupe, usually 1-2 cm diameter, ellipsoid or globose, yellow , orange or reddish when ripe.
The ‘ber’ tree is a part of folklore in North India especially in Punjab. The ‘Dukhbhanjani’or sorrow removing tree of the Golden Temple in Amritsar is revered by the Sikhs.
In Bengal the worship of Kului Chandi , a benevolent deity , is done with a branch of jujube tree. The branch symbolising the deity is kept along with two sacred earthen pots. A pair of ripe plantain, a pair of jujube fruit, flattened rice, some paddy and Durva grass are offered to the deity. The worship of Kului Chandi is performed on every Tuesday in the month of Agrahyna (November-December). The deity is believed to be benefactor to the family and the guardian spirit of the family .
As per a story from Ramayana , a Ber tree tried to save Sita from Ravana but could not succeed .When Rama passed by, the tree narrated the incident to Rama in shame and asked for forgiveness. Rama in appreciation of the brave deed, blessed the tree with immortality .So the tree is sturdy and survives even when cut from base. The plant also find its mention in Kamba Ramayana; ber fruits were offered to Rama by Shabari in the forest.
According to the Puranas the devotees or sages of those times lived upon its fruits in the celebrated pilgrimage called Badarica Srama (now Badrinath) which abounded with the badari or jujube trees .
It is not planted inside the premises of houses as it is supposed to make the inhabitants quarrel with each other.
In Rajasthan idols of ‘Prahlad’ are made from its wood and kept in the fire during Holi. It is believed that bachelor boys, wishing to get married soon, try to take it out from fire.
The leaves are offered to Lord on Satyanarayana Vrata and Ganapati on Shree Siddhi Vinayaka Vrata. The ‘ber’fruits are offered to Shiva by the Hindus on Mahashivaratri.
Fruits are edible and rich sources of vitamin C and sugars; they are sun-dried and kept for all seasons and also pickled. Leaves are used as fodder. Bark is used for tanning. Wood is used for tool-handles, toys, turnery etc.