Tough Bumelia, Tough Buckthorn, Ironwood

Sideroxylon tenax

Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Sideroxylon (sy-der-oh-ZY-lon) (Info)
Species: tenax (TEN-aks) (Info)
Synonym:Bumelia chrysophylloides
Synonym:Bumelia lacuum
Synonym:Bumelia megacocca
Synonym:Bumelia tenax
Synonym:Chrysophyllum carolinense




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


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:

Sun to Partial Shade


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

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow after last frost

By air layering

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 7, 2005, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

S. tenax is a scrubby shrub to small tree that is native to the dry sandy areas, xeric sites, scrub, sandhills, coastal dunes, inland dunes and similar dry sites in the coastal southeastern United States from coastal North Carolina south through Florida as far south as Miami-Dade and Collier counties. It grows in zones 8a to 10b.

It is a great plant for a native plant or wildlife garden and is suitable for xeriscaping. It is very drought-tolerant.

The leaves are rounded in shape.

S. tenax often has a dense, somewhat branching to branching growth habit. It may resemble an oak without closer examination.

The underside of the leaves is often brownish to brown or reddish-brown (copper).


On Aug 7, 2005, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This Florida native plant is recommended for landscapes on sandhills, old dunes or coastal hammock. The dark green leaves are backed with dense coppery colored hairs. It is related to the Satin Leaf of south Florida.

It has clusters of tiny white flowers at the leaf axils.

It does have thorns, so plant it away from walkways.