Brasil, Bluewood Condalia, Brasilwood

Condalia hookeri

Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn family)


Brasil is a native, semi-evergreen (evergreen in south Texas) shrub or small tree in the Buckthorn (Rhamnaceae) family. It tends to be thicket-forming. While recognized for its light gray stems and stiff thorns, Richard Tayor in Common Woody Plants & Cacti of South Texas says “Smaller Brasil plants or regrowth may be confused with Lotebush, Amaragosa, or Knifeleaf Condalia as a result of the similarity of stems, light gray color, and stiff thorns.”  It is commonly multiple-trunked and reaches heights between 6 to 15 ft or 1.8 to 4.6 m, on occasion reaching 9 m with an irregularly shaped crown and spreading branches. New growth is green and velvety, becoming smooth and brown or gray with age.  The small leaves (usually < 2.5 cm) are shiny, light lime-green, and alternate or fascicled along a branch that terminates with sharp spines. The leaves are obovate or spatulate with smooth margins, analogous to the branches, and are pubescent at first and glabrous with time. Sometimes they are notched at the tip or have evidence of a single tooth.  Brasil has flowers that are quite small (~0.4 cm) and greenish, solitary, or in an axillary cluster of two or three. Its fruit ripens in the summer from a green drupe to a purple or black color. While only 6 mm and hard to harvest because of the thorns, the fruit is edible and quite sweet. Because the fruit ripens over the course of the summer, it has extended availability for wildlife consumption. Brasil's forage value for wildlife is high. The fruit is consumed by a wide array of mammals, and Brasil is used as a nest site for birds as well as cover for both mammals and birds. Its browse value for cattle is low. 


Brasil is found mainly on drier soils in mixed-brush areas of South Texas. It is uncommon in North Texas.