Jojoba (hoe-HOE-buh) (Simmondsia chinensis) is another great desert plant. It's dioecious (separate male plants and female plants, therefore separate male and female flowers).
|Photos by Matt Ball 8/30/2015|
If you see a fruit [the thing that holds/contains the seed(s)], you know you are looking at a female plant. The females bear the fruit, of course, and the fruit holds the seed. A seed is a baby plant with a packed lunch.
|Hand by Anne|
I broke open a fruit to reveal the seed. Jojoba seeds are very dense and hard. Their 'lunch' is high in fat (50% of the seed is fat). For the baby jojoba plant, this means it has a lot of energy (compared to, say, a poppy seed) to use for growth before it must send up a shoot to start photosynthesis.
This fat can be harvested and used as an industrial oil and in cosmetics. In the 1970s, importing whale oil to the US was banned; jojoba oil was found to be better than whale oil in industrial (and cosmetic) uses.
These seeds aren't digestible by humans, though. You won't get any energy benefits and you'll likely have some digestive issues, so keep these out of your trail mix.