Jojoba oil differs from all known seed oils by its almost complete absence of glycerides, making it more a liquid wax than a fat. It has become important as a possible substitute for sperm-whale oil to produce lubricants, lubricant additives and other products. The plant occurs naturally in southern Arizona and N.W. Mexico and its oil has long been used by Indians for medicinal, culinary, ritual and other purposes. It tolerates extreme daily fluctuations of temperature and grows well under the difficult soil and moisture conditions of the region. In the first part of this review the plant and its uses are described, including its floral, fruit and seed anatomy and the use of liquid wax during germination. Stored coryledon wax is used up by the embryo as a linear function of time during the first 30 days of germination and growth. Before germination, seeds weight about 0.59 mg and contain about 54% wax. The second and greater part of the review deals with jojoba oil (its extraction, properties, molecular description, toxicity and composition), jojoba meal, which remains after the oil has been extracted, and the chemical modification of the oil.