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Coma

Sideroxylon celastrinum

Saffron-Plum, Downward Plum, Tropical Buckthorn, Antswood

About This Plant

Sun. Semi-evergreen. Coma has little leaves, spiny branchlets, and a small treelike form. The leaves last for a couple of seasons, making it effectively evergreen. You’ll smell it before you ever see it; the warm-season white blooms have an overpowering sweet fragrance that attracts swarms of butterflies. From a ranch distance it can resemble a motte of live oak, until the thorns give it away on close inspection. Coma can be used for dense thicket-like screening if allowed to grow and given some room; it also makes an interesting addition to the native butterfly garden. Overall, this is a great shelter and nesting plant for wild animals, especially in sandy soils south of San Antonio. It’s rarely found in the landscape trade, although it can be sourced from native growers in the Rio Grande Valley. Coma is fairly slow growing; preserve it on-site if you have it.

Origins: South Texas chaparral, south to Central and South America

Maintenance

Prune to shape only; prickly branches require careful handling.

Like a little live oak with thorns, and big fragrance in bloom.

Min. Height: 15'

Max Height: 20 feet'

Min. Width: 15'

Max Width: 25 feet'

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