Lotebush, Blue brush, Gumdrop tree

Zizyphus obtusifolia (T. & G.) Gray var. obtusifolia

Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn family)


This shrub is a native, cool-season perennial in the Buckthorn family. Commonly named lotebush, gumdrop tree and clepe, it is a rigid, intricately branched shrub that grows to 6 feet tall and is greenish gray to blue-gray. Lotebush has thorn-tipped branches of various lengths, as well as many sharp, straight thorns along the stems. Lotebush leaves are often grayish green and vary greatly in shape from oval to oblong. They are less than 1.5 inches long and either entire or shallow toothed. The flowers are inconspicuous. The fruit is black, mealy and stonelike, about the size of a pea.This shrub provides good grazing for wildlife and poor grazing for livestock. It is best known for providing good cover for wildlife, especially quail, and a nursery area or protection for young plants that are easily grazed out of a pasture.


Lotebush is widespread across Texas on dry ranges in the central, southern and western parts of the state.