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Useful Tropical Plants

Olea capensis

L.

Oleaceae

+ Synonyms

Enaimon undulata (Sol.) Raf.

Faulia verrucosa Raf.

Ligustrum hookeri Decne.

Linociera urophylla Gilg

Olea buxifolia Mill.

Olea cassinifolia Salisb.

Olea concolor E.Mey.

Olea guineensis Hutch. & C.A.Sm.

Olea hochstetteri Baker

Olea intermedia Tausch

Olea laurifolia Lam.

Olea macrocarpa C.H.Wright

Olea nigra Loisel.

Olea undulata (Sol.) Jacq.

Olea urophylla (Gilg) Gilg & G.Schellenb.

Common Name: Black Ironwood

Olea capensis
Cultivated tree with a wide crown being grown in S. Africa.
Photograph by: Abu Shawka
Public domain
Olea capensis Olea capensis Olea capensis

General Information

Black ironwood is an evergreen bushy shrub or a small tree, usually growing up to 10 metres tall, though occasional specimens may be much larger, occasionally reaching 40 metres[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The tree is often harvested from the wild for its high quality timber. It also provides an edible fruit and has some medicinal qualities.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

Tropical Africa - drier areas of Sierra Leone to Somalia, south through eastern Africa to S. Africa.

Habitat

Occurring in bush, littoral scrub and evergreen forest in situations where temperatures are relatively low and, apart from diurnal fluctuations, fairly constant temperatures throughout the year[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It can be a dominant tree in woodland[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height10.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

A plant of tropical and subtropical areas, where it is found at elevations from 800 - 2,600 metres[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature falls within the range 14 - 18°c, but can tolerate 10 - 30°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall of 800 - 1,200mm with a distinct dry season, tolerating a rainfall of 700 - 1,500mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Plants can tolerate some shade[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, but tolerates 5 - 7.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Growth is reported fast in young plants but much slower in older ones. Over the first 4 years a mean annual height of 1.1 metres has been reported[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Flowering in profusion apparently takes place only at irregular intervals of up to 7 years in the late dry season[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The fruits take about 6 months to ripen[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
This species has been divided into 3 subspecies:-
Ssp. Macrocarpa. The fruits are oblong to elliptic, up to 2 x 1 cm; flowers in lax heads.
Ssp. Capensis. The fruits are almost spherical to oblong elliptic, up to 1 cm long; flowers in dense heads and leaves very variable, apex often rounded; branchlets grey to greyish-brown.
Ssp. Enervis. The leaves are usually broadly elliptic, apex tapering; branchlets grey to whitish[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - sometimes eaten[
364
Title
Field Guide to the Moist Forest Trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Lovett J.C.; Ruffo C.K.; Gereau R.E.; Taplin J.R.D
Website
http://www.york.ac.uk/res/celp/webpages/projects/ecology/tree%20guide/introduction.htm
Publisher
Frontier
Year
0
ISBN
1-873070-33-0
Description
A lovely little book giving a basic identification guide to more than 650 species of trees growing in Tanzania. It is also available to view on the internet.
]. The ovoid, fleshy fruit is up to 2 x 1 cm - when ripe they are somewhat succulent purplish drupes[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Medicinal

The roots are used to treat infertility in women[
364
Title
Field Guide to the Moist Forest Trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Lovett J.C.; Ruffo C.K.; Gereau R.E.; Taplin J.R.D
Website
http://www.york.ac.uk/res/celp/webpages/projects/ecology/tree%20guide/introduction.htm
Publisher
Frontier
Year
0
ISBN
1-873070-33-0
Description
A lovely little book giving a basic identification guide to more than 650 species of trees growing in Tanzania. It is also available to view on the internet.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The tree is used for shade in coffee plantations[
364
Title
Field Guide to the Moist Forest Trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Lovett J.C.; Ruffo C.K.; Gereau R.E.; Taplin J.R.D
Website
http://www.york.ac.uk/res/celp/webpages/projects/ecology/tree%20guide/introduction.htm
Publisher
Frontier
Year
0
ISBN
1-873070-33-0
Description
A lovely little book giving a basic identification guide to more than 650 species of trees growing in Tanzania. It is also available to view on the internet.
].
A natural pioneer species in its native range[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Other Uses

The wood of ssp capensis and ssp enervis is rarely used, but that of ssp macrocarpa is of high quality[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The heartwood is pale brown with irregular dark gray-brown streaks; it is clearly demarcated from the up to 5cm wide band of pale yellow sapwood. The texture is fine and even; the grain straight or shallowly interlocked, figured; the surface slightly oily. The wood is hard and heavy; durability is low to moderate, being susceptible to termite attack. It dries very slowly, with a strong tendency to check and warp; honeycomb may develop in thick material if dried too rapidly. It is easy to saw when green; difficult to work by hand; a smooth clean finish is obtained in planing; it has excellent turning properties; steam-bending properties are moderate. An attractively figured wood, it is used for purposes such as quality furniture, decorative veneer, turnery, carving, decorative flooring, tool handles[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
316
Title
Tropical Timbers of the World. Ag. Handbook No. 607.
Publication
 
Author
Chudnoff. Martin.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service. Wisconsin.
Year
1984
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details on the properties of the wood of almost 400 species of trees from the Tropics.
,
364
Title
Field Guide to the Moist Forest Trees of Tanzania.
Publication
 
Author
Lovett J.C.; Ruffo C.K.; Gereau R.E.; Taplin J.R.D
Website
http://www.york.ac.uk/res/celp/webpages/projects/ecology/tree%20guide/introduction.htm
Publisher
Frontier
Year
0
ISBN
1-873070-33-0
Description
A lovely little book giving a basic identification guide to more than 650 species of trees growing in Tanzania. It is also available to view on the internet.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe, otherwise there can be problems with dormancy[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Fresh, mature, healthy seed usually germinates reasonably well, though the germination percentage tends to be low, at 30 - 40%, and uneven- it is usually extended over a period of 2 - 3 months but even in fresh seed can take as long as 2 years from sowing[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
He seed is collected and cleaned of all pulp - soaking in water for 2 days makes removal easier[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

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