Devilwood is a small, evergreen tree or shrub with a spreading, rounded canopy. It is native to the southeastern United States. It grows in woodlands, along stream banks and in scrublands. Devilwood is related to the edible Eurasian olive tree. It has very hard, tough wood that is difficult to work so it got the name devilwood because the wood is bedeviling to work. Devilwood has a short, leaning or crooked trunk and large, bright green or dark green leaves. The leaves are in pairs on the branches and they are thick, leathery and glossy. In the early spring, small, four-petaled white flowers bloom in small clusters at the twig ends. The immature flower clusters develop on the twigs during the previous season and they remain dormant on the twigs until the following spring. In the summer and autumn, oval, olive-like fruits develop on the twigs. The fruits are purple or black and they are eaten by birds and other wildlife. It is deer resistant and is tolerant of drought, salt and poor soils. Hardy in zones 5-9.
Growing instructions for the Devilwood
The seeds have a hard seed coat that has to be treated, or scarified, in order for water to enter the seeds so that they can sprout. 1. Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat. The seeds can be sanded with sandpaper, a nail file or an emery board. 2. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Use a sterile seed starter mix, if available. It prevents soil pathogens from damaging the seeds and the seedlings. If not available, then make a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. 3. Put the soil in a pot. 4. Sow the seeds on the soil. 5. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. 6. Water the seeds. Keep the soil moist but not wet. 7. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade. 8. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.