Sideroxylon tenax

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Tough Buckthorn, Tough Bully


Also known as Bumelia tenax

Plant Specifics

Size:12-30 ft tall by to 20 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:White
Fruit Color:Black
Phenology:Evergreen (south) or deciduous (north). Flowers in summer. Fruits ripen in summer or fall. Life span 50+ yrs (Nelson 2003).
Noted for:Interesting foliage, Thorns


Recommended Uses:Hedge plant, specimen plant, woodland plant. Plant where the silky brown/gold undersides of the foliage will be seen.
Considerations:Plant where it will have space. While many specimens in natural scrub settings are slow growing, this plant can be a robust growing in the landscape. Expect it to grow into a small tree.
Propagation:Seed, cuttings.
Availability:Native nurseries, FNPS plant sales, Seed
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Not wet but not extremely dry ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Not wet but not extremely dry ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Some tolerance to salty wind but not direct salt spray.
Soil or other substrate:Sand
Soil pH:Adaptable



 Birds and other animals eat the fruit.


Nectar plant for butterflies.

Attracts bees and flies.  A pollinator magnate.

Watching insects swarm over my tough bully trees is one of my summertime treats.

Native Habitats:Sandhill, scrub.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


General Comments:

This plant is easy to grow.

Weak wood.