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Xylosma hawaiiense

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Kingdom Plantae
Order Malpighiales
Family Salicaceae
Species in this genus
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Xylosma ()[1] is a genus of flowering plants in the in the willow family, Salicaceae.[2] It contains around 100 species of spiny evergreen shrubs and trees[3] commonly known as brushhollies, xylosmas, or, more ambiguously, "logwoods". The generic name is derived from the Greek words ξύλον (xylon), meaning "wood," and ὀσμή (osmé), meaning "smell,"[4] referring to the fragrant wood of some of the species.[3] The Takhtajan system places it in the family Flacourtiaceae,[5] which is considered defunct by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group.[2]


The leaves are alternate, simple, entire or finely toothed, long. The flowers are small, yellowish, produced on racemes long, usually dioecious,[6] and have a strong scent. The fruit is a small purple-black berry in diameter that contains 2 to 8 seeds.[3]


The genus is predominantly native to the tropics and subtropics,[3] from the Caribbean, Central America, northern South America, the Pacific Islands, southern Asia and northern Australasia. Two species – Shiny Xylosma (X. congestum) and X. japonicum – are found in warm-temperate eastern Asia (China, Korea and Japan).


Xylosma foliage is used as food by the caterpillars of some lepidoptera, such as the Rustic (Cupha erymanthis), which feeds on X. racemosa, and the Common Leopard (Phalanta phalantha), which feeds on X. longifolium and X. racemosa.


The main use for the genus is as hedge and topiary plants among gardeners in desert and chaparral climates. Shiny Xylosma is the species usually seen in garden hedges and in road landscaping, despite the fact it bears thorns. Other species cultivated for these purposes include X. bahamensis, X. flexuosa, and X. heterophyllum.[3] X. longifolium is sometimes grown in India for its edible fruits.[7] In addition, a medicinal extract is made from its young leaves that acts as antispasmodic, narcotic, and sedative.[8]

Selected species


  1. Brenzel, Kathleen N. (1995). Sunset Western Garden Book (6 ed.). Sunset Publishing Corporation. pp. 606–607. ISBN 9780376038517. 
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named GRIN
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Everett, Thomas H. (1982). The New York Botanical Garden Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horticulture. 10. Taylor & Francis. p. 3572. ISBN 9780824072407. 
  4. Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology. IV R-Z. Taylor & Francis US. p. 2857. ISBN 9780849326783. 
  5. Takhtajan, Armen (2009). Flowering Plants (2 ed.). Springer. p. 226. ISBN 9781402096082. 
  6. "Xylosma G. Forster, Fl. Ins. Austr. 72. 1786.". Flora of China. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Peter Hanelt; Institute of Genetics and Crop Plant Research, ed (2001). Mansfeld's Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops (Except Ornamentals). 3. Springer. pp. 1374. ISBN 9783540410171. 
  8. Khare, C. P. (2007). Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary. Springer. p. 725. ISBN 9780387706375. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Grandtner, Miroslav M. (2005). Elsevier's Dictionary of Trees. 1. Elsevier. pp. 969–972. ISBN 9780444517845. 
  10. Heads, Michael (2006). "Seed plants of Fiji: an ecological analysis" (PDF). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 89: 459. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  11. "GRIN Species Records of Xylosma". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ITIS
  13. "Subordinate Taxa of !Xylosma G. Forst.". TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2010-01-31.