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Olea europaea subsp. africana

Family: Oleaceae (Olive family)

Common names: Wild Olive (E); umNqumo (Z); Olienhout (A);

Native to: Southern Africa
Shrub, Tree

Olea europaea subsp. africana

EVERGREEN

FULL SUN

FROST HARDY

LOW WATER REQUIREMENTS

SLOW GROWER

MEDIUM GROWER

FRAGRANT

ATTRACTS BIRDS

ATTRACTS INSECTS

FLOWER COLOUR:

AVERAGE SIZE:

9m x 12m
FLOWERING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D
FRUITING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Olea europaea subsp. africana

DESCRIPTION

A neat, well-shaped, evergreen  tree with a dense crown of glossy grey-green foliage with lighter undersides.   The leaves are long and narrow.  The bark is brown or charcoal with a rough texture when mature.  The tree produces sprays of tiny white flowers which precede the tiny, purple-black fruit which attracts birds such as Bubuls, Barbets and Louries to the tree.

NATURAL HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION
Stream banks, open woodland and rocky areas.
WILDLIFE & ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS
A wonderful addition to a bird-friendly garden as the fruits attract birds.
WATER REQUIREMENTS
Water moderately.
LANDSCAPING USES
Only suitable for large gardens and a must for the bird garden.
A popular shade tree for parks, street plantings and office complexes.
GARDEN THEMES
Bushveld, Country, Forest, Formal, French, Mediterranean, Oriental, Rockery, Woodland
FOLIAGE
BARK
FRUIT
An oval, dark brown capsule.
CAUTION
The pollen may affect allergy sufferers.

12 Responses

  1. Hi Adrian

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    We’re not horse experts so you’d have to check with your local veterinarian specialist. However, there are no known cases of Olea europaea subsp. africana toxicity that we’re aware of. The fruit is much smaller than that of oak tree acorns (approximately 5mm in diameter) so I assume it gets digested easier.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  2. This wild olive tree looks ideal for a shade tree. I want it for a highveld farm near Secunda for shade for horses. Is it safe for horses or could the fruits cause colic if eaten by the horses? Oak tree acorns are said to cause colic in large amounts.

  3. Hi Sipho

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    The lifespan of any plant will depend on it’s growing conditions.

    Some specimens of Olea europaea subsp africana around Gauteng have been estimated to be over 300 years old.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  4. Hi Heiko

    Thanks for visiting our site.

    Olea europaea subsp. africana flowers are very small and almost insignificant, making them easy to miss. Likewise, the fruit is just 1cm in diameter and is almost the same colour green as the foliage when unripe. They ripen to a deep purple but are attractive to birds and don’t remain on the tree for very long. A healthy tree can start flowering from its third season. All trees are able to bear flowers and fruit.

    Perhaps the lack of flowers and fruit on your tree is a nutrient deficiency? Perhaps try applying a general purpose organic fertiliser and a healthy dose of compost around the root zone of your tree. You should notice a change after a couple of seasons.

    Flourish!
    Glencie

  5. Hi

    I have have just planted a Wild Olive this weekend, I however think I have got another huge one in my Garden. I have never seen the big one flower or bear fruit yet. Are there Males and Females in this Tree Species? At what age can I expect it to start flowering?

  6. Hi Adri

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Yes, Olea europaea can grow successfully in your area. The growth rate is moderate to fast, depending on the growing conditions.

    Other species you could consider are:
    Buddleja saligna (False olive)
    Pittosporum viridiflorum (Cheesewood)
    Apodytes dimidiata (White pear)
    Nuxia floribunda (Forest elder)
    Brachylaena discolor (Coastal silver-oak)
    Tarchonanthus littoralis (Coastal camphor)

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  7. Thank you! I did not mention but i had to take out a 11 year Karee tree for it was messing so much that it damaged my pool pump. Also birds didnt like it.
    So I am looking for a evergreen, not aggressive root system that i can plant near the pool. Also must not mess.
    Thanks again. Will research the trees you suggested.

  8. Hi Francois

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    The wild olive is a large tree so not suitable to be planted too close to a pool.

    The growth rate varies depending on your planting conditions and geographic location. It tends to be slower in the Highveld but shows significant growth in climates with less harsh winters.

    Rather consider one of the following:
    Apodytes dimidiata (White pear)
    Croton gratissimus (Lavender fever berry)
    Dais cotinifolia (Pompon tree)
    Heteropyxis natalensis (Lavender tree)
    Ilex mitis (Cape holly)
    Vepris lanceolata (White ironwood)

    Flourish!
    Glenice

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