Gum Bumelia

Gum Bumelia

Sideroxylon lanuginosum
Chittamwood; Gum Bully; Woolly Buckthorn; Blackhaw; Coma


Southern U.S., to western Mexico
  • Central Texas
  • Texas
  • Part Sun/Shade
  • Low
  • Birds

About This Plant

Sun or partial shade; (semi) evergreen, depending on conditions. The spiny branch tips tend to discourage tree-climbing and other close contact, but blooms appear in mid-summer and are sweetly fragrant. Gum bumelia’s descriptive names belie a rather plain appearance. Although “bully” may be a bit of an overstatement, “buckthorn” references the spiny branch tips; “gum” the chewability of the sap; and “woolly” the fuzziness of the lower leaf surfaces.

Gum bumelia is largely unavailable even in the native plant trade, so preserve it on-site if you can. It’s useful for wildlife in any native edge.


None required to achieve a shrublike shape, though it can also be trained up into a single-trunk tree (as pictured on recommended tree lists.) Pruning is always optional. Make any cuts at a bud or branch; focus on minimizing dead,  damaged, or rubbing branches. As with any tree, remove no more than 25% of the total canopy during any five-year cycle. To maintain a healthy specimen leave the upper 2/3 of the tree’s height uncut (never removing more than the lowest third of the tree in a single pruning period) — for example, on a 12-foot tree, stick to the lowest 4 feet.


Plant Type:
Small Tree
15-40 H, 15-40 W
Sunlight Requirements:
Part Sun/Shade
Soil Types:
Clay, Sandy
Birds, Pollinators
Flower Color:
Bloom Time:
Freeze Hardy:
Terminal branch tips are spiny.
Coupon Eligible:

This plant goes well with

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