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Xylosma

Xylosma

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Encyclopedia
Xylosma is a genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 of flowering plant
Flowering plant
The flowering plants , also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies...

s in the in the willow
Willow
Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere...

 family, Salicaceae
Salicaceae
Salicaceae are a family of flowering plants. Recent genetic studies summarized by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group has greatly expanded the circumscription of the family to contain 55 genera....

. It contains around 100 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of spiny
Thorns, spines, and prickles
In botanical morphology, thorns, spines, and prickles are hard structures with sharp, or at least pointed, ends. In spite of this common feature, they differ in their growth and development on the plant; they are modified versions of different plant organs, stems, stipules, leaf veins, or hairs...

 evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

 shrub
Shrub
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...

s and tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s commonly known as brushhollies, xylosmas, or, more ambiguously, "logwood
Logwood
Haematoxylum campechianum is a species of flowering tree in the legume family, Fabaceae, that is native to southern Mexico and northern Central America. It has been and to a lesser extent remains of great economic importance. The modern nation of Belize grew from 17th century English logwood...

s"
. The generic name is derived from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 words ξύλον (xylon), meaning "wood," and ὀσμή (osmé), meaning "smell," referring to the fragrant wood of some of the species. The Takhtajan system
Takhtajan system
A system of plant taxonomy, the Takhtajan system of plant classification was published by Armen Takhtajan, in several versions from the 1950s onwards. It is usually compared to the Cronquist system. Key publications:-External links:* Takhtajan system at...

 places it in the family Flacourtiaceae
Flacourtiaceae
Flacourtiaceae is a defunct family of flowering plants whose former members have been scattered to various other families, mostly to Achariaceae, Samydaceae, and Salicaceae. It was so vaguely defined that hardly anything seemed out of place there and it became a dumping ground for odd and anomalous...

, which is considered defunct by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group
The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, or APG, refers to an informal international group of systematic botanists who came together to try to establish a consensus on the taxonomy of flowering plants that would reflect new knowledge about plant relationships discovered through phylogenetic studies., three...

.

Description


The leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 are alternate, simple, entire or finely toothed, 2–10 cm (0.78740157480315–3.9 in) long. The flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s are small, yellowish, produced on raceme
Raceme
A raceme is a type of inflorescence that is unbranched and indeterminate and bears pedicellate flowers — flowers having short floral stalks called pedicels — along the axis. In botany, axis means a shoot, in this case one bearing the flowers. In a raceme, the oldest flowers are borne...

s 1–3 cm (0.393700787401575–1.2 in) long, usually dioecious, and have a strong scent. The fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 is a small purple-black berry
Berry
The botanical definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary. Grapes are an example. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit in which the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp. They may have one or more carpels with a thin covering and fleshy interiors....

 5–10 mm (0.196850393700787–0.393700787401575 in) in diameter that contains 2 to 8 seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

s.

Range


The genus is predominantly native to the tropics
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 and subtropics
Subtropics
The subtropics are the geographical and climatical zone of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropical zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S...

, from the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

, northern South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, the Pacific Islands
Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands comprise 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are also sometimes collectively called Oceania, although Oceania is sometimes defined as also including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago....

, southern Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 and northern Australasia
Australasia
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes...

. Two species – Shiny Xylosma (X. congestum) and X. japonicum – are found in warm-temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 eastern Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

 (China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

 and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

).

Ecology


Xylosma foliage is used as food by the caterpillar
Caterpillar
Caterpillars are the larval form of members of the order Lepidoptera . They are mostly herbivorous in food habit, although some species are insectivorous. Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered to be pests in agriculture...

s of some lepidoptera
Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera is a large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies . It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world, encompassing moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies, skipper butterflies, and moth-butterflies...

, such as the Rustic (Cupha erymanthis
Cupha erymanthis
The Rustic is a species of brush-footed butterfly found in forested areas of tropical South Asia and Southeast Asia.-Description:Upperside ochraceous light brown...

), which feeds on X. racemosa, and the Common Leopard (Phalanta phalantha), which feeds on X. longifolium and X. racemosa.

Uses


The main use for the genus is as hedge
Hedge
Hedge may refer to:* Hedge or hedgerow, line of closely spaced shrubs planted to act as a barrier* Hedge , investment made to limit loss* Hedge , intentionally non-committal or ambiguous sentence fragments-See also:...

 and topiary
Topiary
Topiary is the horticultural practice of training live perennial plants, by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrubs and subshrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes, perhaps geometric or fanciful; and the term also refers to plants which have been shaped in this way. It can be...

 plants among gardeners in desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

 and chaparral
Chaparral
Chaparral is a shrubland or heathland plant community found primarily in the U.S. state of California and in the northern portion of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico...

 climates. Shiny Xylosma is the species usually seen in garden hedges and in road landscaping, despite the fact it bears thorns
Thorns, spines, and prickles
In botanical morphology, thorns, spines, and prickles are hard structures with sharp, or at least pointed, ends. In spite of this common feature, they differ in their growth and development on the plant; they are modified versions of different plant organs, stems, stipules, leaf veins, or hairs...

. Other species cultivated for these purposes include X. bahamensis, X. flexuosa
Xylosma flexuosa
Xylosma flexuosa, commonly known as Brush Holly or Coronilla, is a species of flowering plant in the willow family, Salicaceae, that is native to southern North America and northern South America. Its range stretches from southern Texas in the United States south through Mexico and Central America...

, and X. heterophyllum. X. longifolium is sometimes grown in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 for its edible fruits. In addition, a medicinal
Herbalism
Herbalism is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts. Herbalism is also known as botanical medicine, medical herbalism, herbal medicine, herbology, herblore, and phytotherapy...

 extract is made from its young leaves that acts as antispasmodic
Antispasmodic
An antispasmodic is a drug or a herb that suppresses muscle spasms.-Smooth muscle spasm:One type of antispasmodics is used for smooth muscle contraction, especially in tubular organs of the gastrointestinal tract...

, narcotic
Narcotic
The term narcotic originally referred medically to any psychoactive compound with any sleep-inducing properties. In the United States of America it has since become associated with opioids, commonly morphine and heroin and their derivatives, such as hydrocodone. The term is, today, imprecisely...

, and sedative
Sedative
A sedative or tranquilizer is a substance that induces sedation by reducing irritability or excitement....

.