Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Simmondsia chinensis (formerly californica), a common shrub of the desert region of the south-western USA and Mexico, whose nuts were a foodstuff for American Indians. The name ‘jojoba’, most generally used for these, is a Cahuilla Indian one, but they may also be called goat nuts, deer nuts, or pig nuts.

The nut resembles a hazelnut in size and appearance, but is more pointed and has slightly flattened sides, giving it a triangular cross-section. It has a bitter taste, something like that of the acorn.