elephant tree Burseraceae Bursera
microphylla A. Gray symbol: BUMI
Leaf: Alternate, pinnate, drought deciduous, 11-21 ovate to lanceolate, entire, 1/4 inch long leaflets per leaf, 1 to 1 1/2 inches overall, with a camphor-like odor.
Flower: Small, creamy white, borne on long stalks, usually clustered in 3's, midsummer.
Fruit: Reddish brown, maturing late fall, 1/3 inch long, splitting into 3 pieces at maturity.
Twig: Resinous and stout, reddish brown.
Bark: Tight and smooth, very attractive, outer layer pale creamy white to gray-brown, peeling to reveal gray-green (photosynthetic), innermost bark reddish, spouting resin when cut.
Form: A shrub or small tree, to 16 feet, widespreading, with a very short, thick, trunk.
Looks like: copal - fragrant bursera - torote blanco
Additional Range Information: Bursera microphylla is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting elephant tree.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson