Olea europaea cuspidata
Linociera lebrunii Staner
Olea africana Mill.
Olea asiatica Desf.
Olea aucheri A.Chev. ex Ehrend.
Olea chrysophylla Lam.
Olea cuspidata Wall. & G.Don
Olea ferruginea Royle
Olea indica Kleinhof ex Burm.f.
Olea kilimandscharica Knobl.
Olea maderensis (Lowe) Rivas Mart. & del Arco
Olea monticola Gand.
Olea schimperi Gand.
Olea similis Burch.
Olea somaliensis Baker
Olea subtrinervata Chiov.
Olea verrucosa (Willd.) Link
Common Name: African Olive
Ripe fruits on a plant in Australia
Photograph by: the weed one
African olive is a slow-growing evergreen shrub or a small tree with a dense, rounded crown; it usually reaches a height of 5 - 10 metres, but occasional specimens can be up to 18 metres tall[
The tree is harvested from the wild as a source of food, medicines and wood for local use. It is planted for reforestation and is also grown as an ornamental[
Eastern and southern Africa, through Arabia to Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal and China.
Widely distributed in its native range of southern Africa occurring in a variety of habitats, usually near water, on stream banks, in riverine fringes, but also in open woodland, among rocks and in mountain ravines[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
A plant of moist to semi-arid areas of the tropics and subtropics, where it can be found at elevations up to 2,700 metres[
]. Plants grow best in areas where the mean annual temperature falls within the range 22 - 28°c, though they can tolerate 15 - 35°c[
]. Plants can resist some frost - dormant plants are killed by temperatures of -4°c, whilst young growth can be damaged at -1°c[
]. Prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 500 - 1,000mm, tolerating 300 - 1,500mm[
Requires a sunny position, succeeding in most soils so long as they are well-drained[
]. Plants can succeed in soils of low fertility[
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 7.5, but tolerates 6 - 8.5[
]. A much thinner flesh, but it can be used in the same way as olives[
]. The ovoid, thinly fleshy fruit is about 10 x 8 mm tapering to a sharp tip, dark brown or black when mature[
An oil is extracted from the seed[
]. This oil would doubtless take an important place in the oil trade were it procurable in large quantities, for it is of as good quality as the ordinary olive oil[
The leaves are soaked in a pot containing local brew to make it strong[
The dried leaves are used as a tea substitute[
A root or bark decoction is used as a remedy for malaria[
The tree is planted for reforestation[
]. Its high drought tolerance suggests that it is a good candidate for reforestation in semi-arid zones[
The heartwood is dark brown or red-brown to yellow with dark figuring; the sapwood is light brown. The wood is fine-textured, hard, heavy, close and even grained. It polishes and finishes well. It is highly prized for turning, and is often used to make ornaments such as wall clocks and vases. Jewellery items such as beads, brooches and bangles are also made from wild olive wood. Although the tree does not usually produce sawable logs or branches, there are still several furniture makers that, with great effort produce furniture from the limited quantities of timber. The wood is also used locally for building poles, flooring, carvings, pestles and fencing posts[
The wood is used as a fuel and to make charcoal[
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