gum bully
Sideroxylon lanuginosum

Secondary Names:
gum bumelia, gum-elastic, woolybucket bumelia

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

A medium-sized tree, typically to 40 feet tall and a trunk to 12" in diameter, with short, stout, stiff branches that form a narrow, oval crown of dark green foliage. The twigs are often armed with straight spines.

Range/Site Description:

Occurs throughout Texas, except in the High Plains and far West Texas, usually along streams, in sandy woods, or in open areas or fencerows.


Simple, alternate, 2" to 4" long and 0.5" to 1" wide, obovate in shape, leaf edge smooth; leaves are dark green and shiny above, woolly-hairy underneath, and are often grouped near the ends of short spurs along the branches.


Small, five-petaled, white flowers appear in early summer, each borne on a hairy flower stalk about 0.2" long.


A fleshy, black, oblong berry, 0.5" to 1" long, borne singly or in a cluster of 2 or 3; usually dry and firm on the outside, containing a light brown, firm, rounded seed.


Dark brown to grayish, developing tightly interlacing, flattened ridges and deep furrows on older trunks.


Light brown, streaked with white, and surrounded by a band of lighter colored sapwood. The wood is heavy, hard, and close-grained, sometimes used for tool handles or cabinetmaking.

Similar Species:

Saffron-plum (Sideroxylon celastrinum), or la coma, occurs in South Texas and has leaves 1-2" long with smooth undersides.

Interesting Facts:

The colloquial name, "chittamwood" has been given to several tree species, including gum bully, and refers to the wood used to make the biblical Ark of the Covenant.

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