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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - May 24, 2011

From: Thorndale, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Identification of thorny shrub with blue berries
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Thorny shrub with blue berries. In our acid sandy loam we have many thorn bushes. This one has small leaves like a wild pomegranate, long thorns. berries of the size and color of blueberries and is very invasive and hard to get rid of. What is this rascal?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants' best guess is that you have Sideroxylon lanuginosum (Gum bumelia) shrubs.  The gum bumelia has long sharp thorns and produces blue berries.  Its leaves do somewhat resemble those of Punica granatum (pomegranate). It can grow to be more than 40 feet high but doesn't reach that height very quickly.  It can form loose thickets of shrubs that are hard to remove because of the long thorns.  Here are photos that show the long thorns and more photos showing the blue berry.

Here are a few photos from our Image Gallery:


Sideroxylon lanuginosum


Sideroxylon lanuginosum


Sideroxylon lanuginosum


Sideroxylon lanuginosum

 

 

 

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