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LOTEBUSH

Ziziphus obtusifolia

Ziziphus obtusifolia (syn.s Condalia obtusifolia, Condaliopsis obtusifolia, Rhamnus obtusifolia) of the family Rhamnaceae, the buckthorn family

Grows in at least Texas and Mexico as a small to moderate sized bush so is likely to be available to craftsmen only in very small sizes if at all. Judging by the one sample that was contributed to the site, you could break rocks with this stuff. It is sometimes called bluewood in the US and has several common names in Spanish.

my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting --- colors will vary under other lighting conditions


a small log (although normal size or even large, for this species) contribute to the site by James Lopez whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The set of pics directly below are of this log after I slabbed it.


two faces of the slab


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


a little side slab off of the same small log


lotebush end grain closeups (see the enlargements), also provided by James Lopez


mystery wood #123


The wood below was on my Mystery Wood page for a long time and got numerous comments from various readers. Also, I sent the sample to the USDA lab, which identified it as belonging to the genus Rhamnus of the family Rhamnaceae (the buckthorn family). More on that in a bit.

Correspondant James Lopez ID'ed this as definitely being a medium size bush called "Lotebush" which grows around San Antonio and to the South into Mexico. He found some small ones growing in Austin but he tells me they get bigger to the South and that walking-cane makers use them. Botanically, lotebush is listed as Ziziphus obtusifolia (syn.s Condalia obtusifolia, Condaliopsis obtusifolia, Rhamnus obtusifolia) of the family Rhamnaceae (the buckthorn family). James also sent me a sample of lotebush (see above) and the end grain of this is clearly identical to that of this wood. That's not an absolute ID, but it is VERY strongly suggestive. I also checked closely on desert ironwood, which several people suggested for this wood, and the end grain is clearly different.

In the genus Rhamnus, which is where the USDA put it, there is a wood, Rhamnus ferreus, that looks something like this wood and that does grow in Mexico. Further, Rhamnus ferreus is an extremely dense, hard wood (two of its common names are "axe-master" and "ironwood") so that might be what this wood is, BUT ... the end grain grain closeup on this is SO like lotebush, that I'm going with that.

Whether it is Rhamnus ferreus OR Ziziphus obtusifolia I think it is in any case one of those woods sold by dealers in the Southwest as "desert ironwood".


both sides of a wood from the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas. Both sides and the end grain are shown and you can tell pretty clearly that I sanded one side with a finer grit than the other, both because it reflects the flashbulb more and because the color is slightly richer. This is a hard, dense wood and clearly will take a high gloss when fine sanded (the sanding here is only to 100 grit).


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

end mystery wood #123





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