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Chittamwood

Chittamwood

Chittamwood is in the Sapotaceae plant family. It is a native shrub or tree that grows in thickets when growing in sandy soils. It has thick thorns on the branches and shiny, dark green leaves. The young twigs of chittamwood have a milky sap. In June and July, chittamwood produces small clusters of light green to cream colored flowers. Large numbers of bees visit these flowers when open.

In September and October, it produces dark purple berries that turn a golden brown color when they dry. Many wildlife species including northern bobwhite, wild turkey, many songbirds and other mammals consume these berries.

White-tailed deer browse the ends of the twigs and leaves of chittamwood. Cattle will occasionally eat the twigs in the winter.

The leaves stay on the tree throughout fall until early winter, providing cover for wildlife and cattle. Native Americans use part of the bark as chewing gum.

People occasionally cultivate chittamwood as an ornamental.