Texas Native Plant of the Month: Chittamwood Tree

Photo by Melody Lytle, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Every month I will feature a Texas Native plant that will grow well in Ellis County. This month, I have chosen an obscure widely unknown little tree as our first Texas Native Plant of the Month.

The Chittamwood Tree, also known as Gum Bumelia, is growing along fence lines and the edges of wooded areas all across Ellis County and North Texas, but most folks wouldn't recognize one if they saw it. It is one of my favorite trees because it is very similar to other trees but very unique as well.

Chittamwood has very dark bark with dark green shiny leaves that resemble the leaves of a Live Oak. It grows well in almost any location except very moist areas. This tree is semi-evergeen, which means it retains just a few leaves throughout the winter, and it has thorns that grow on the end of each twig, but it is easily maintained.

Wildlife benefit greatly from these trees because they provide safer nesting and they also provide black berries.

Chittamwood trees can be planted in hot dry areas where they will thrive with little to no supplemental irrigation once they are established. They are medium sized trees reaching maximum heights of only 80 feet while growing only 50 feet wide.

I recommend Chittamwood to any plant or tree enthusiast, but good luck finding one at a nursery. You'll have to dig one of these up yourself.