Sideroxylon tenax

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Sideroxylon tenax
Side tena.jpg
Photo by Wayne Matchett,
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Ebenales
Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Sideroxylon
Species: S. tenax
Binomial name
Sideroxylon tenax
Side tena dist.jpg
Natural range of Sideroxylon tenax from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Tough bully, Tough buckthorn, Tough bumelia,

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Bumelia tenax (Linnaeus) Willdenow; B. lacuum Small


A description of Sideroxylon tenax is provided in The Flora of North America.


Tough bully is native to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. In Florida, it is absent from the panhandle.[1]



In the Coastal Plain, S. tenax has occurred in longleaf pine-Carya floridana-oak woods, longleaf pine-turkey oak-wiregrass sandhills, scrub oaks, hydric hammocks, sand dunes, coastal scrubs, scrub oak/cabbage palm communities, saw palmetto thickets, Pinus clausa scrubs, salt marsh edges, tidal marsh borders, and river floodplains. It has also occurred on roadside disturbed sand dunes.[2] This species prefers moist to dry, well-drained sandy soil with a humusy top layer[3] and has been found in sand, loamy sand, and calcareous loamy sand.[2] Associated species include Ceratiola ericoides, Pinus clausa, Quercus chapmanii, Q. geminata, Q. myrtifolia, Garberia heterophylla, , Sabal etonia, Lyonia ferruginea, Vitis rotundifolia, Bumelia, Smilax, Selaginella arenicola, Rhynchospora megalocarpa, Ximenia americana, Juniperus silicicola, Myrica cerifera, Celtis, Xanthoxylum fagara, Persea littoralis, Ardisia escallonioides, Rapanea guianesis, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Plumbago scandens, Bumelia, Forestiera and Sageretia minutiflora.

This species mostly grow in xeric habitats, it has adapted a dense coat of hair to slow down the water loss through transpiration.[1]


The berries are dark purple, spherical to egg shaped and about 10 mm across;[4] they have a sweetish pulp that is eaten by large birds and mammals.[1] Flowers are borne in groups of up to 40 flower.[4] It has been observed flowering in March, May through October and in December.[5][2] It fruits June through November.[2]

Seed dispersal

This species disperses by being consumed by vertebrates (being assumed).[6]


The following Hymenoptera families and species were observed visiting flowers of Sideroxylon tenax at Archbold Biological Station: [7]

Apidae: Apis mellifera, Bombus impatiens

Colletidae: Colletes francesae

Halictidae: Augochlora pura, Augochlorella aurata, Augochloropsis metallica, A. sumptuosa, Lasioglossum nymphalis

Leucospididae: Leucospis robertsoni

Pompilidae: Episyron conterminus posterus

Sphecidae: Bicyrtes quadrifasciata, Cerceris fumipennis, Ectemnius rufipes ais, Isodontia exornata, Oxybelus decorosum, Stictia carolina, Tachysphex apicalis

Vespidae: Monobia quadridens, Pachodynerus erynnis, Parancistrocerus fulvipes rufovestris, Stenodynerus histrionalis rufustus

Use by animals

Fruits are eaten by fallow deer[8] and birds.[1]

Conservation and management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 [[1]]Accessed: March 17, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: November 2015. Collectors: James R. Allison, Harry E. Ahles, J. Ambrose, Loran C. Anderson, D.F. Austin, C.R. Bell, J. Bowers, N. Coile, A.H. Curtiss, A.R. Darr, R.J. Eaton, Angus Gholson, Robert K. Godfrey, Ann F. Johnson, Samuel b. Jones, Walter Judd, H. Kurz, Olga Lakela, Robert J. Lemaire, S.W. Leonard, Sidney McDaniel, K.M. Meyer, M. Moore, Gil Nelson, S. Parker, A.B. Pittman, Elmer C. Prichard, James D. Ray Jr., B. Reed, J. Simmons, R.W. Simons, C.E. Smith, R.R. Smith, A. Townesmith, Eric Van De Genachte, D.B. Ward, R. D. Whetstone, D. White, B. Winn, C.W. Wood, B. Zoodsma. States and Counties: Florida: Brevard, Collier, Duval, Flagler, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Martin, Nassau, Palm Beach, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Volusia. Georgia: Bryan, Charlton, Chatham, Liberty, McIntosh. South Carolina: Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, Hampton, Jasper. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  3. [[2]]Regional Conservation. Accessed March 16, 2016
  4. 4.0 4.1 [[3]]Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed: March 17, 2016
  5. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 13 DEC 2016
  6. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  7. Deyrup, M.A. and N.D. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.
  8. Morse, B. W., M. L. McElroy, et al. (2009). "Seasonal Diets of an Introduced Population of Fallow Deer on Little St. Simons Island, Georgia." Southeastern Naturalist 8(4): 571-586.