Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chittamwood, Gum Elastic Buckthorn
Bumelia lanuginosa

Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Bumelia (bew-MEE-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: lanuginosa (lan-oo-gih-NO-suh) (Info)

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #1 of Bumelia lanuginosa by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #2 of Bumelia lanuginosa by Jeff_Beck

By Jeff_Beck
Thumbnail #3 of Bumelia lanuginosa by Jeff_Beck

By broncbuster
Thumbnail #4 of Bumelia lanuginosa by broncbuster

By Sheila_FW
Thumbnail #5 of Bumelia lanuginosa by Sheila_FW

By cacaiste
Thumbnail #6 of Bumelia lanuginosa by cacaiste

By vossner
Thumbnail #7 of Bumelia lanuginosa by vossner

There are a total of 10 photos.
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No positives
4 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative vossner On Sep 23, 2012, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

a volunteer in my garden, I rate it negative because of its wicked thorns. Top of foliage is leathery, dark green and shiny. Underside is "furry" gray. Has a very long tap root. It is a TX native, produces berries and is drought tolerant, so can be appropriate for some gardens, but not for mine.

Neutral texasflora_com On Dec 29, 2009, texasflora_com from De Leon, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This tree doesn't seem to be fussy about where it grows. I've seen it growing on a steep, rocky limestone slope with mostly caliche for soil and I've seen it growing in sand and just about every other type of soil. As mentioned in another comment, it would probably be good for xeriscaping since it's a native and drought tolerant. I'm not sure about its lifespan, but it might make a decent tree in full sun with regular care and if you kept the thorny lower limbs trimmed high. It does make a good show when it blooms in early spring, but otherwise, it doesn't stand out and its main redeeming quality is for bird food. It forms dense colonies.

Neutral frostweed On Feb 15, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Chittamwood, Gum Elastic Buckthorn Bumelia lanuginosa is Native to Texas and other States.

Neutral smiln32 On Jan 5, 2005, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

The wood of this tree is quite strong. The bark is somewhat covered with small thorns. It isn't commonly planted in Oklahoma, but it would be great as it tolerates heat and moderate drought conditions. It is a slow grower, though. It makes a great tree for urban settings.

Neutral Super65 On Oct 11, 2004, Super65 from Belton, TX wrote:

Tree is a xeriscape consideration, being fairly tough and producing a dark blue-black berry which birds and other wild critters feed on.
Sapsuckers seem to be especially fond of this tree with its gummy sap and will work it excessively, which is why I call these trees Gum trees. Most people don't know what these trees are and they are sometimes mistaken for little Live Oak trees when they come up.
Specimens I have examined along fence rows and fields in Bell County are usually small to medium size trees around 30 feet tall with a narrow crown. Specimens growing along the Leon River in Belton are considerably larger. The Texas state record is 80 feet in Robertson County.
There are several varieties of Gum Bumelia in Texas.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Morrilton, Arkansas
Christiana, Tennessee
Abilene, Texas
Austin, Texas
Brownwood, Texas
Burnet, Texas
De Leon, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Hico, Texas
La Grange, Texas
Laredo, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
Temple, Texas
Waxahachie, Texas

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