Dad Gum Tree

I will never forget the first time I heard a co-worker exclaim, “Dad gummit!” in complete frustration over a problem we were trying to solve. At first, I thought I heard her wrong, so I asked her to repeat what she said. After a repeat of the phrase confirmed I had indeed heard what I thought I had, I finally laughed and said I’d never heard that before. Nobody seemed to know where the phrase originated, but it was obvious how it came to be. Though not a phrase of mock profanity I use myself, I have heard it many times over the thirty years I have lived in Oklahoma.

Of course I have had many instances where the phrase applied to the frustration I felt about problematic issues. In the months since I finally broke down and got an iPhone X, I have been cursing the new device. It is so large it only fits in a couple of my work pants pockets, and is much heavier than my old iPhone 5S. It also has a lot of bells and whistles I’ll never use. The one thing that I do love, is that the phone camera is a big improvement over my old iPhone model.

However, I soon realized that my high-tech phone would not allow me to move photos to my desktop computer, where I enjoy doing my writing. I will never do blog posts from my iPhone or iPad. Never. I love the “bigness” of seeing everything on my large monitors, and being able to view and edit easily. So not having access to my photos, had me frustrated for months.

The only photos I could easily access were those from the camera card on my DSLR. I found myself limited, especially when I was in the pen with Tukker deer. The iPhone made it so easy to take photos, where my DSLR and zoom lens were cumbersome and I had to carry different lenses for various situations. And, as the number of images stuck on my phone reached more than five-hundred, I became infuriated. Even FD looked at the problem and couldn’t solve it.

Exasperated, I knew I had to calm down and find a way. There had to be a way. And there was. I discovered it myself. And even though it was a long and tedious process, and not all that organized, at last I had the images extracted from the phone and on my desktop. I did not feel elated when I finished the process. I was simply glad the task was finished and that I now knew how to get images off of the phone. Later, I felt grateful as I flipped through photographs I had long forgotten.

The mystery fruit tree located on the west end of our property, not far from the river.

And there it was as I flipped through my images – a lone photograph of an unknown fruit or berry tree on the far west end of the orchard property. For years, I believed the tree to be an Osage Orange, also called Bois d’arc in these parts (Maclura pomifera), because it had small thorns on the branches. Admittedly though, I never really looked at the leaves or the trunk and bark, I just assumed. Now, looking at a photograph I had taken back in October, showing the tree had put off a bounty of fruit, it was clearly not an Osage Orange.

I think sometimes, the harder we focus on something, the more elusive it becomes. For weeks after discovering the tree loaded with bluish-black fruit, I researched trees of Oklahoma and could not come up with anything that matched my photo. Eventually, I gave up the research, but each time I passed by that tree in our Kawasaki Mule, I wondered about it.

In time, the fruits disappeared. I knew wildlife must have enjoyed those luscious treats. Perhaps I could have foraged these fruits for Tukker deer if only I had known they were safe for him to eat. Now that I had the photograph to look at, I tried researching again. And oddly, whatever key words I punched in Google that day, worked. An image similar to mine popped up, which led me to The University of Texas Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. There, I found a perfect description of the tree I had been looking for, along with a series of photos that unmistakably named my mystery tree a Gum Bumelia (Sideroxylon lanuginosum). The fruits of this tree are called drupes. Even the multi-trunked appearance and spiny stems and branches rang true in the description. My first silly thought was, “The Dad Gum (emphasis on GUM) mystery is finally solved”!

Watch out for the tiny thorns!
The Gum Bumelia on our property is actually two trees that grew alonside each other, but the trunks have twisted around and interlocked over time. It’s an unusual tree.
I took this image of the multi-trunked Gum Bumelia tree (in the foreground) this past week. The tree is just beginning to leaf out, but will not blossom until June or July.
Leaf shoots are just beginning to unfurl in April.

You know me, I’ll be out there at the west end come June, and maybe into July, waiting to photograph the sweet, fragrant blossoms that will provide benefits to bees in spring and summer. In October, I will be sampling some of these tasty fruits for myself and, if I’m lucky, Tukker deer may still be around to share them with me.

© 2020 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


43 thoughts on “Dad Gum Tree

  1. My dad has used “dadgum it” ever since I was a kid (and I’m nowhere near being a kid anymore). It’s become part of my lexicon now too! I guess your research told you whether the fruit of that tree was edible; did it say what it tastes like?

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  2. I enjoyed reading about your mystery tree. It’s lovely.

    I grew up in dad gummit country — Tennessee. Haven’t heard it in real life in decades!! Thank you for jogging my memory.

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  3. Dadgum and doggone are similar examples of what linguists call taboo deformation: people alter a sacrilegious or profane expression to avoid saying forbidden words. In this case it’s a nice coincidence that the gum turned out to be part of the cure for your frustration.

    Getting photographs from your phone to your desktop computer shouldn’t be a long and tedious process. If you have a Macintosh I can tell you how to do it. If you have a Windows computer, someone else should be able to tell you how to do it.

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    1. I wish I had a Mac – I’ve looked at them but the price tag was always the deal breaker. I’m sure I’ll make the splurge someday. Perhaps this issue will really prompt me to let loose of my purse strings!

      I have Photoshop Elements on my desktop, and I used to easily transfer my photos from my old phone. When I got my new iPhone it still transferred easily, until the second software update, and from then on the normal process wouldn’t work. I Googled it, but came up with nothing. Finally, I managed to go into my Devices on the desktop and five sub folders later, located my photos. The problem seems to be with the “Live” photos (a two to three-second movie clip) which I cannot turn off completely. I do not use those at all. Each time I go into the camera I have to remember to shut that feature off. These Live Photo’s will not allow transfer of more than two at a time. So, I have gone in to delete these from the phone, one by one. Video transfer for longer video clips sometimes works, and sometimes not. I just have to keep trying. I no longer seem to be able to transfer anything from the iPhone to the computer via Elements anymore. Perhaps the problem is with Photoshop. I haven’t upgraded in a while.

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      1. In the camera app on my iPhone I have the “live” feature turned off and it stays off. I don’t have to turn it off again each time I re-use my phone. I wonder why your camera app doesn’t keep the “live” feature off.

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        1. Maybe I need to take it to the Apple store. Any time I get out of the camera app, and then go back in, the “live” feature is back on. Thanks for letting me know that yours does stay off. That makes me wonder if the update changed something or if my phone has a quirk.

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  4. We lived close enough to Kentucky (just across the river) that ‘Dad gummit’ was somewhat familiar to me, though no one in our family used it as far as I can remember. I’m glad you figured out how to get your iPhone photos onto the computer. You must not have a Mac computer because they are so compatible it is easy. In fact it is so easy it is one of the reasons why I will never even consider having a camera other than my iPhone. Don says I have a camera that happens to have a phone attached! He’s right. Fun and informative post, thanks Lori xx

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    1. Ha ha! FD says the same thing to me that Don says to you! This ordeal may be the catalyst in getting me to bite the bullet and get a Mac. As much writing and photography as we do, getting blog posts out there should be easy all around.

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  5. Another fun story I was going through all your pictures. Some fun memories and nee ones I’ve never seen. Hope you are healthy and safe. Love ya.  Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

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    1. Hi, Mamie! Are you referring to the photos on the side bar? I sure wish I looked that young again! Ha ha! There are a lot of good memories there. I need to add a few new and updated photos – Tukker, Lollipop and Oscar, and Miss Punkin – she’s a little old lady squirrel by now – she’ll be six years old in August this year!

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  6. You solved the mystery! Well done for getting there in the end.
    About your phone, as you’ve found Apple devices are not compatible with other systems on purpose, to try and make you buy only Apple products. F**ing annoying.
    I hope you and yours are well. We’re starting our fourth week of total lockdown here, but all my family are well so far. Fingers crossed.
    XXX

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    1. It’s good to hear from you, Henrie. I’m glad all is well in your neck of the woods. We are well here too, and though Oklahoma’s cases of COVID-19 are steadily growing, we have only had two cases in our county – one at FD’s employment. It certainly has caused a lot of change for folks. Not so much for me (and maybe you too being out in the country) because I am normally here on our little ranch and I have wide open spaces to roam in the woodlands.

      I suspect the same about Apple. I am a big fan of the Apple format and would love to have a Mac to add to my Apple devices, but right now it’s not in the cards. I might be game if they start offering “deals” in the future, but that’s not something Apple is known for. Sending love to you, my friend.

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  7. I just had to know a little more about the Dad Gum tree so Googling I went… Dad Gum is a better name than its other common names “um bully, black haw, chittamwood, chittimwood, shittamwood, false buckthorn, gum bumelia, gum elastic, gum woolybucket, woolybucket bumelia, wooly buckthorn, wooly bumelia, ironwood and coma.” The fruit is edible, and tasty apparently, but too small to be of interest to many except birds.
    Have you tried Dropbox to transfer files. It is available for iPhone. My phone is android as is my laptop and I have it installed on both. The main drawback is despite being able to upload multiple files from phone camera to Dropbox, when downloading from Dropbox to local files you can only download singularly. The process is quick but less convenient.

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    1. How does a tree end up with so many names? Woolybucket? Where does a name like that come from? Ha ha! The drupes were about the size of a grape, so these were fairly large. We noticed last year was a fruit crop year like we had never seen, so maybe the Gum bumelia had a good year like our other fruit trees did.

      I hadn’t heard of Dropbox. I keep thinking since the iPhone was jiving with Photoshop Elements just fine when I first got it, and when the second update took place, everything stopped that maybe it’s just a glitch that needs to be fixed. I haven’t managed to make time to talk to Apple about it. Since I managed to get all the photos transferred, I take photos off the phone almost as soon as I take them. I’m not letting that pile up again!

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  8. What?! I thought that the common gum tree there was either Nyssa sylvatica or another species of Nyssa. A few species of Nyssa are collectively known not only as gum trees, but also as black gum, sour gum and tupelo. They are not native to that specific region, but are native just a few miles to the east, and perhaps on the eastern edge of Pottawatomie County. Also, it was commonly planted beyond its natural range. My maternal grandmother from Red Oak learned to chew on a twig to fray it a bit, and then brush her teeth with it . . . with is an odd use for something known as ‘black gum’. Liquidambar styraciflua is sweetgum. Outside of Oklahoma, many species of eucalyptus are gum trees, although Eucalyptus sideroxylon (with the same species name as the genus name of your gum tree) is not considered to be a gum tree. The one that I am most familiar with is the blue gum. It is the biggest and baddest of the eucalyptus that gives all eucalyptus a bad reputation. I grew up with it. My colleague down south and I used the name freely as long as we can remember, only to learn recently that it had historically been a very derogatorily racist term for someone of African descent.

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    1. The soil type and conditions in this area would make this tree prolific to the region I would think, but I could not find much information about it in Oklahoma. It was referred to in Texas mostly. I will continue to look around, especially in June, to see if there are other Gum bumelia trees in this area.

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      1. Since it is native in the region, so is already there, it would have proliferated already if it wanted to. Like any species with such potential, it likely proliferates where conditions are right for it to do so, but now ‘everywhere’. I remember reading about how the Eastern red cedar is proliferating more than it naturally does because it is not longer suppressed by occasional fires. That one seems to proliferate wherever it wants to if it gets the chance. The gum tree could be less prolific if it is not used to competing with species that are now more prolific. I never noticed this species while I was there, but there were several species that I never identified, even the ‘simple’ hickories. (I think I know what they were, but I am not certain.)

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        1. You are correct, it will proliferate where conditions are right. I found another Gum bumelia tree just downwind of the first one, a short distance from the old river channel. I’ll bet there are more. I will take a hike through the woods and check it out while the trees are just beginning to leaf out. In a week or two everything will be green and they’ll be harder to pick out!

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  9. Lori, that’s a cool tree…we don’t have those up here. I see most of the comments are about helping you with your phone issues, but I’m here to help with the issue of identifying unknown plants. 🙂 I use iNaturalist to record sightings of plants and insects, and it has an amazing ability to give me the correct ID from a single photo. In fact, I uploaded your first photo above, and the first suggestion in the list of possible species was….gum bumelia! You can use the iNaturalist app in the field to get quick identifications. Highly recommend it!

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    1. Wow! I think you informed me about iNaturalist before and I completely forgot about it! I have it loaded on my phone now. Maybe I won’t have to look so hard and research next time! Thanks, Kim!!

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  10. The only person I ever knew to say dadgummit was my great-grandfather Elmer. He was from West Texas, the Panhandle. I still say it sometimes, just to be funny. So cool you finally figured out the type of tree you’ve got there. I agree that sometimes we can look too hard. Applies to a lot of situations!

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  11. Spring has sprung there; here not so much except crocuses and snowdrops, the occasional daffodil. While in college, I worked at a diner with all Southern employees except another young waitress and me. Our clientele was mostly customers who were from the South and moved up North to work at the Big Three. I think I learned every Southern idiom around and that was one of my favorites – I’ve not thought of it in years. I still use a flip phone so I’d have a lot to learn and get used to!

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    1. I enjoy the Southern lingo. Most of it makes sense but there are a few sayings that I have asked about, unsure of the meaning. Sometimes not even the locals know where a phrase came from or how it came to be. Regionally, we pick up on all sorts of differences in language and expression. I grew up in a community of Czech, Polish, German, and various Scandinavian populations. They all have their sayings too.

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      1. I’ll bet some of them have been passed down for generations. At the diner, my boss would look out the window at a darkening sky and say “it’s comin’ up a storm.” He said that every time and that phrase has stuck with me every time I see a bad storm.

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  12. If you cannot transfer your files from the iPhone to your computer via usb cable maybe you could mail the files to yourself and then load them into Elements. I had the same problem with my old iPhone and that worked. Now with the newer phone it works fine via cable. It is also possible that your musing about Photoshop could be the cause. Sometimes the old software version isn’t able to work with newer model cameras or, I would guess, phones. I am in Windows and everything is working okay but I upload into Lightroom.
    Good for you finding your tree’s proper name and species. I am looking forward to your flower photos and a report on the dadgum gum pie you’ll make with the fruits. 🙂

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  13. Hi Lori, Oh, the joys of modern technology! I admit I am a bit of a technophobe. I reluctantly own a mobile ‘phone – horrible, intrusive things – which I only use as a telephone for friends and family. My other piece of information technology is my 12 year old desk top Apple Mac. I agree with your comments on the benefits of desktops; so much more enjoyable than squinting at a small screen and photographs are soooo much better on a larger screen.

    Good luck with finding a more convenient way of uploading your photographs from your mobile.

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    1. Thank you, Margaret. “Technophobe” would describe me too. I have never enjoyed much about cell phones. The only thing I have found useful about them is the convenience of being able to call FD when I have a emergency, and those times have been rare.

      Hmm, I just remembered, the GPS app on my phone has come in handy. A couple of times I’ve been lost on the nearby river (in that boot area I often talk about). That GPS feature helped keep me from utter panic trying to find my way out. I guess instead of being negative I should try to be more thankful for technology. 🙂

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  14. I do get it about the cameras and photography issues. I only got my first smartphone a year ago so all my photos were on my DSLR. I sometimes have problems uploading but usually use the cable. I think the speed of my internet doesn’t help sometimes.

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    1. Your photography is always beautiful! I know we all have issues with photography – there are so many things that either aren’t compatible, and as you say, the internet quality isn’t what we expect. I’m just thankful I finally managed to extract the photos.

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  15. Love that first picture – such clear sharp details and amazing depth in image..
    Had to laugh as we’ve all gotten so used to phones being cameras. (I have an ancient iPhone and baby it as I like the size – and it does enough…knock on wood. We use dropbox for business and sometimes for photos – it’s pretty easy and another option worth exploring)
    Dad always said “dang gummit”. Now I’m wondering where that variation came from it!

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    1. Dang gummit sounds even more southern! Ha ha! I say, “dang it!” a lot.
      My last phone was an iPhone 5S and I loved it. It was small, lightweight, and easy to carry around. It got to the point last summer where it wouldn’t hold a charge anymore. FD was put out with me that I didn’t upgrade before my Germany trip a couple of years ago – and I should have. I had all sorts of problems there and had it not been for my iPad on that trip, communication of any kind would have been nil.
      That first image was taken from the Mule, as we were driving along. We had guests at the ranch at the time and I noticed the fruit on the tree. Our guests wanted to sample the fruits but I refused that idea. A good forager knows never to try something without identifying it first!! If I had been able to identify the drupes at that time I would have been gathering some for Tukker.

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      1. You are right about not sampling everything.
        Hey – the outdoors is the critters’ grocery store – they can’t do car keys or drive. That’s what I always told 3-5 yrs old kids ..they could identify…HaHa
        Maybe “dang-it” was there for runner of “dang gummit” saying either just makes you smile.
        Hope you’re duckin’ these recent storms. We’re (weather wise and virus-wise …just being cautious, being self reliant, and staying away from people ( wise advice from critters HAHA)

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  16. Thanks for sharing such a real and every day experience that we have share, regardless of race, our phone cameras.It is really funny how we all check the quality of the camera yet in actuality phones should be more than about that .
    And I particularly liked your comment on how we often make things to be what they are not for so long. That right there was a wise observation. We are responsible for so much of our happiness at times, simply by setting our minds on a certain path without really taking time to explore other possibilities

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    1. I have to remind myself often that my “human” thoughts and considerations are not what nature presents. The first orphan deer I raised, Daisy, taught me much about being alert, observing, and moving on. I tend to lament far too long about how something should be or should have been. Living in the moment is something we’re all dealing with right now… and it can be our best and happiest times if we let it be and veer to a positive thought!

      You are so correct!! It IS our responsibility to find that silver lining. It’s there. Always.

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