Gum Bumelia, or Chittamwood, is a native shrub or small tree that can be found in most of the southern half of Missouri. In the best conditions, it can reach 40 feet tall with a twelve-inch trunk diameter. It is usually smaller than that when growing in the thin, rocky soil of our limestone glades. The small, white flowers clusters appear in June and July and attract a number of bees and other pollinators. They develop into shiny, black fruits that are quickly eaten by birds.
This is a representative of the typically tropical Sapodilla family. Relatives of gum bumelia are often relished for their fairly large, sweet fruits. Our gum bumelia fruits are edible, though they may cause stomach issues and dizziness if too many are eaten in one sitting.
The Bumelia Borer, Plithocoelium suaveolens, is a long-horned beetle that uses gum bumelia as a host plant. It is a beautiful, metallic green beetle with bright orange legs.
Uses: Drought tolerance, birds, bees, edible
Bloom time: June - July
Height: 20 to 45 feet
Space: 10 to 30 feet
Sun: Full sun to light shade
Moisture: Dry to average