||This genus of about 25 species of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs is of interest as it includes the most cold-hardy members of the mainly tropical sapodilla family. A recent study of the family has concluded that Bumelia should be merged with the larger ironwood genus Sideroxylon. As treated here, Bumelia is confined to the Americas and about 10 of its species occur in the USA, 2 extending to southern Illinois. They are mostly thorny trees with milky sap, simple, smooth-edged leaves and small white flowers emerging from rusty-haired buds, borne in small clusters at the nodes along the twigs. The fruits are small berries each containing a single, large, brown seed. Bumelias have rather slight ornamental value but provide food for wildlife. They are grown for revegetation projects in their native areas, or sometimes as hedges and shelter belts.
||CULTIVATION: The species native to the USA are fairly frost hardy and also drought resistant, with deep tap roots. They can be cut back hard and will resprout freely. Propagate from seed, freshly extracted from ripe fruit; germination may take several months but cold stratification may improve the rate.