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For other meanings see Sideroxylon (disambiguation).
Starr 010330-0568 Sideroxylon persimile.jpg
Sideroxylon persimile
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Sapotaceae
Subfamily: Sapotoideae
Tribe: Sideroxyleae
Genus: Sideroxylon

About 70, see text


Apterygia Baehni
Auzuba Juss.
Bumelia Sw.
Calvaria Comm. ex C.F.Gaertn.
Cryptogyne Hook.f.
Decateles Raf.
Edgeworthia Falc.
Lyciodes Kuntze
Mastichodendron (Engl.) H.J.Lam
Monotheca A.DC.
Reptonia A.DC.
Robertia Scop.
Roemeria Thunb.
Sclerocladus Raf.
Sclerozus Raf.
Sinosideroxylon (Engl.) Aubrév.
Spondogona Raf.
Tatina Raf.[1]

Sideroxylon is a genus of flowering plants in the family Sapotaceae. There are about 70 species, collectively known as bully trees. The generic name is derived from the Greek words σιδηρος (sideros), meaning "iron", and ξύλον (xylon), meaning "wood."[2]


The genus is distributed mainly in the neotropics, but also in Africa, Madagascar, and the Mascarene Islands. Some species, such as Gum Bully (S. lanuginosum), S. tenax, and Buckthorn Bully (S. lycioides), are found in subtropical areas of North America. The only South African species, the White Milkwood (S. inerme), is associated with three historical sites, and these individuals were declared national monuments due to their unusual longevity.


Several species have become rare due to logging and other forms of habitat destruction. The Tambalacoque (S. grandiflorum, syn. Calvaria major) of Mauritius was affected by the extinction of the birds which dispersed its seed; it was suggested that the species entirely depended on the dodo (Raphus cucullatus) for that purpose and nearly became a victim of coextinction, but this is not correct.[3][4] Bully trees provide food for the larvae of certain Lepidoptera, such as the Bumelia Webworm Moth (Urodus parvula) as well as several species of Coleoptera of the genus Plinthocoelium, commonly known as Bumelia Borers.

Selected species[edit]

Formerly placed here[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Genus: Sideroxylon L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2009-09-31. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  2. ^ Gledhill, D. (2008). The Names of Plants (4 ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 352. ISBN 978-0-521-86645-3. 
  3. ^ Witmer, M. C.; A. S. Cheke (1991). "The dodo and the tambalacoque tree: an obligate mutualism reconsidered". Oikos 61 (1): 133–137. doi:10.2307/3545415. 
  4. ^ Hershey, D. R. (2004). "The widespread misconception that the tambalacoque absolutely required the dodo for its seeds to germinate". Plant Science Bulletin 50: 105–108. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "GRIN Species Records of Sideroxylon". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 

External links[edit]