Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Simmondsia californica Nutt. in London J. Bot. 3: 400, t. 16. 1844.

Shrubs, dioecious, minutely hairy. Leaves opposite, subsessile, entire. Male flowers: in subglobose axillary clusters, sessile or shortly pedunculate, each flower solitary below each small bract; sepals 5, broad, imbricate; stamens 10 - 12; filaments short; anthers oblong; thecae parallel, contiguous, laterally 2-valved; pistillode absent. Female flowers: mostly solitary and much larger than male flowers; sepals 5 or 6, imbricate, the inner much longer than in male, foliaceous; ovary 3-locular; ovule solitary in each locule; style linear, undivided, papillose- hairy, caducous. Fruits capsular, oblong-ovoid, shiny; pericarp coriaceous, longitudinally 3- valved; seed solitary by abortion; testa coriaceous, very little or absent; cotyledons thick and fleshy.

Fl. & Fr. Period unknown.

Distrib. India: Rajasthan (cultivated).

Uses. This plant, commonly called ‘Jojoba’ and produces oil, which is similar to the whale sperm oil. It is a polyunsaturated liquid wax, which finds use as lubricants under high pressure in automobile transmissions. It can be used in high-speed machinery operating under high temperature and high pressures. Recently this oil has found use as gasoline fuel for automobiles and has become of high commercial value.

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