Scientific: Xylosma congesta (formerly Xylosma congestum)
Common: shiny xylosma
Family: Flacourtiaceae
Origin: Tropical America

Pronounciation: Zye-LOS-ma con-GES-a

Hardiness zones
Sunset
8-24
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: Large foundation or background, informal hedge, filler, small multiple-trunk tree, mesic landscape design themes.

Form & Character: Upright and rounded shrub, clean, bright and colorful in appearance.

Growth Habit: Woody evergreen to semi-evergreen perennial, moderately slow (dwarf cultivar) to vigorous, ranging from 5 to 20 feet in height with equal spread.

Foliage/Texture: Glabrous, serrate, light green, ovate leaves tapering to an acuminate tip, new foliage reddish, bronze to copper, occasional stipular spines; medium texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Profuse, axillary, greenish yellow "pin cushion" flowers on older plants in October/November, rather subtle, fruit inconspicuous.

Seasonal Color: New foliage......in other words not much.

Temperature: Hardy to 20oF, colder winter weather will induce deciduous habit.

Light: Full sun to nearly full shade. Eastern and northern exposures best in Phoenix.

Soil: Well-drained soil is desirable. This plant is salt sensitive and thus will invariably have leaf tip necrosis in Phoenix.

Watering: Regular irrigations are imperative in Phoenix.

Pruning: Prune for desired effect or size....or leave informal and large. Shiny xylosma can be pruned severely to regenerate.

Propagation: Cuttings are difficult to root and root development of rooted cuttings as young nursery stock can be weak.

Disease and pests: Somewhat susceptible to Texas root rot.

Additional comments: The dwarf cultivar 'Compacta' is one half the size and is preferred for urban landscape use. But otherwise, shiny xylosma is a landscape plant that was more common in Phoenix landscapes during the 1950s to 1980s, but has since faded away into obscurity with the advent of desert landscaping and the public popularity of desert-adapted and desert-native plants. Frankly, in today's 21st century era of landscape sustainability shiny xylosma is another one of those landscape 'period pieces'.