Miscellaneous Upright Thorny Plants

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The only other thorny or prickly upright woody plants with alternate leaves are the hawthorns (Plate 39), the gooseberries and a currant (Plate 40), which follow* this account, and the compound-leaved species given earlier (Plates 23 and 24). The only opposite-leaved thorny plant is the Common Buckthorn (Plate 19), Spur branches, present in all members of this group except Fire-thorn and DeviTs-club, are stubby, leaf-scar-crowded offshoots of the older branches* They may bear dense clusters of leaves in summer. Bundle scars are 3 per leaf scar except in Osage-orange.

OSAGE-ORANGE pp, 13, 310

Madura pomífera (Raf.) Schneid.

Recognition: A medium-sized tree. Leaves egg-shaped, somewhat long-pointed, not toothed- Strong unbranched thorns at each leaf scar. Sap milky (Caution: it causes a rash in some people), Wood yellow. Buds nearly ball-shaped; end ones false.


Bundle scars 1 to more than 3, Bark orange-brown, furrowed, tight, fibrous. Spur branches of clustered leaves often present. Leaves l"-8". Height 50-60'; diameter 18"-36". Flowers May-June, Fruits green, wrinkled, grapefruit-sized, Oct, Similar species: This species and the bumelias are the only thorny plants with milky sap. Small specimens differ from bumelias in having false end buds and in leaf shape. Barberries have yellow wood but thorns are mostly branched; shrubby, with sap not milky, and fruits are red berries. Remarks: Once native in northern Texas, se. Oklahoma, and nearby Arkansas, home of Osage Indians, this species was widely planted for living fences before invention of barbed wire. Because of its use in making bows, French name hois dare (colloquially Bodarc, Bodock) is still heard. Bark yields tannin;

boiled wood chips yield yellow dye.

EASTERN BUMELIA Bumelia lycioides (L.) Gaertn. f, p. 310

Recognition: A shrub to small tree with sharp thorns at buds. Leaves narrow to elliptic or even parallel-sided or egg-shaped, without teeth, tips short-pointed or rounded, either hairless or somewhat silky. Spur branches with crowded leaves; leaf scars often present. Sap milky. Buds ball-like; true end buds present. Leaf blades 2W'-6", Height to 30'. Flowers small, white, clustered, June-July. Fruits small, cherrylike, black, Sept.-Nov.

Similar species: (1) See Osage-orange, (2) Small Bumelia is lower, with smaller, more leathery leaves. (3) Woolly Bumelia has hairy leaves.

Remarks: Frequently used name Buckthorn may be confused with buckthorns of genus R/iumnus (Plates 19 and 58).

SMALL BUMELIA Bumelia smallii R. B, Clark Not illus. Recognition: Similar to Eastern Bumelia but shrubbier, with leathery leaves having blades not more than 24". Sometimes considered merely a variant of Eastern Bumelia. Bottomlands; se. Missouri to Louisiana and e. Texas,


Bumelia lanuginosa (Michx,) Pers,

Recognition: Similar to Eastern Bumelia but wedge-shaped or parallel-sided leaves rusty-hairy beneath. Twigs and buds woolly. Leaves Height to 50'but usually shrubby. Sandy soils; s. Illinois, centr. Missouri, se, Kansas to n. Florida, Texas, and s. Arizona.

FIRETHORN Cotoneaster pyracantha (L.) Spach p. 310

Recognition: A European shrub with narrow, wavy-edged leaves that have wedge-shaped bases and rounded tips. Leaves thick, usually evergreen. Spur branches lacking, short thorns not


branched, sap not milky. End buds true. Leaves Height to 10', Flowers small, white, clustered, May-June. Fruits small, bright orange, clustered, usually present all winter. Similar species: Evergreen wavy-edged leaves and colorful fniits are distinctive. Hawthorns, if evergreen, have much longer thorns, usually sharply toothed leaves, and larger fruits. Remarks: Fruits regularly eaten by many birds and mammals,

AMERICAN BARBERRY Berberís canadensis Mill p* 310 Recognition: A low shrub whose wedge-shaped leaves are sharply but widely toothed. Twigs brown and rough-wartv; thorns usually with 2 side branches as long as central spine. Inner bark and wood yellow; spur branches may be present. Sap not milky. Leaves Height to 5', Flowers yellow,

May-June. Fruits red, ball-like, Sept.-winter. Similar species: (1) Only other native thorny plant with yellow wood is much taller Osage-orange, which has milky sap and unbranched thorns. (2) European Barberry has closer bristle-tipped teeth, (3) Japanese Barberry leaves not toothed. Remarks; Although named canadensis, does not occur naturally in Canada. An alternate host for the wheat black stem rust,

EUROPEAN BARBERRY Berberís vulgaris U Not illus.

Recognition: Has escaped in some areas. Leaves more closely bristle-toothed than in American Barberry , Thorns branched like those of American Barberry, Taller, looser arrangement of branches helps in winter to separate this from Japanese species. Twigs gray, not roughened by numerous fine warts as in American Barberry, Inner bark and wood yellow. The most susceptible of all barberries to black stem rust of wheat. Leaves Height to I0'+ Flowers yellow, May-June. Fruits red, longer than broad, Aug.-spring. Thickets; Nova Scotia and Minnesota to Delaware and Missouri,

Remarks: Birds including ruffed grouse, bobwhite, and pheasant eat fruits,

JAPANESE BARBERRY Berberís thunbergii DC, Not illus. Recognition: A low compact oriental shrub with wedge-shaped leaves that are not toothed. Twigs brown, somewhat ridged; thorns either unbranched or with 2 small side branches; inner bark and wood yellow. Only barberry in this area which does not transmit stem rust of grains. See American Barberry. Leaves Height to 5', Flowers yellows April-May.

Vuits red, long or globular, often present through winter. Escaped from cultivation to pastures, open habitats; Nova Scotia and Michigan to N. Carolina and Missouri, Remarks: Fruits eaten by many birds, including ruffed grouse, bobwhite, and pheasant.

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