PLANT: Diffusely branched, 1-4 m tall, 1-4 m wide. STEMS many; bark gray-brown; primary lateral branches spreading to ascending; secondary lateral branches suppressed. LEAVES: spatulate or young leaves occasionally elliptic, (3-)5-13(-17) mm long, (1-)2-4(-5) mm wide, obtuse to mucronate or occasionally acute, with base cuneate to distinctly attenuate, dull green, smooth above, occasionally yellowish or orangish beneath, sparsely to densely hispidulous, veins thick and prominent, becoming thinner and flattened with age. INFLORESCENCE: borne on suppressed secondary shoots, usually several flowers reaching maturity per fascicle. FLOWERS: with pedicels (2.5-)3-4.5(-5.5) mm; sepals predominantly deciduous. FRUIT: bitter; with the stone globose or occasionally slightly longer than wide, 2-4.5 mm long, 2-4 mm wide, black to brown. NOTES: 2 subspp; AZ, NM, CA, Mex. REFERENCES: Kyle Christie, Michael Currie, Laura Smith Davis, Mar-Elise Hill, Suzanne Neal, and Tina Ayers, 2006 Vascular Plants of Arizona: Rhamnaceae. CANOTIA 2(1): 23-46.
Christie et al. 2006, Vines 1960
Common Name: bitter snakewood Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Tree General: Shrubs to small trees 1-4.5 m, more or less symmetrical and densely-branched, often with short, thick trunks; branches and twigs rigid, twigs thorn-tipped. Leaves: Spatulate, entire, 3-12 mm long and 1.6-5 mm wide, may be alternate or fasciculate, lower surface has 3-4 pairs of prominent veins; larger leaves petioled, the smaller leaves subsessile. Flowers: In small axillary clusters, yellowish green , about 3 mm wide, the disk at anthesis awash with sticky glistening nectar, no petals. Fruits: Globose drupes 3-5 mm long, black and very bitter at maturity. Ecology: Occasional to common in sandy washes, rare on rocky slopes, grows below 4,500 ft (1372 m); flowers March-May and October-December. Distribution: sw AZ, se CA; nw Sonroa and Baja Calif., MEX Notes: Condalia is a genus of thorny shrubs which are easily recognizable by their spine-tipped branchlets, making it appear that there are leaves growing out of large thorns. Ziziphus obtusifolia is similar, and can be distinguished by its larger berries, 6-8 mm long, and the presence of petals on the flowers (Condalia spp. have sepals but no petals). To tell this species apart from C. mexicana and C. corelleii, look at the spatulate, dull green leaves which are on petioles; and the diffusely branched architechture. Ethnobotany: Papago ate the fruits raw. Etymology: Condalia is named after Antonio Condal, and 18th century Spanish physician and botanist, globosa refers to the globose fruits. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010