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Olea europaea ssp. africana

   (Family: Oleaceae)
Afrikaans: olienhout, Swartolienhout, Olyfboom English: Wild olive Xhosa: Mutlhwari, umnquma Zulu: umhlwathi  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Tree No.: 617
Height: 5 - 12m
Spread: 9 - 12m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Frost Tolerant (heavy)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily),
Clay (fine texture, holds a lot of water)
Flowering time EDIT
x x               x x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
  Flower scent EDIT
  lightly scented
  Flower info
  Sprays of tiny, white to greenish flowers
  Leaf info EDIT
Sow seeds in Autumn
Sweet when ripe
  Seed info EDIT
  spherical, thinly fleshy fruits
Description EDIT
Olea europaea subsp. africana is a neatly shaped evergreen tree with a dense spreading crown of glossy grey-green to dark-green foliage. Leaves are grey-green to dark-green above and greyish below. The rough, grey bark sometimes peels off in strips.
Growing EDIT
Propagate it from seed or from hardwood cuttings. Sow fresh seed in river sand.
Young trees should be protected from cold wind for their first two years. Water the young trees well during their first year, and they will reward you with good growth.

An aggressive root system precludes this tree from being planted near to your house, pool or other buildings on your property. This is a very hardy tree – resists frost and drought.
The average growth rate is approx 800mm per year,and the Wild Olive should be pruned each year to stimulate further growth. It will grow in most types of soil and does very well in alkaline soils.
Distribution EDIT
Widespread in Africa, Mascarene Islands, Arabia, India to China.
History EDIT
Oh-lee-a yoo-ROH-pay-a af-ri-KHAN-uh
A tea can be made from the leaves.

An ink is made from the juice of the fruit.

Traditional remedies prepared from this plant serve as eye lotions and tonics, lower blood pressure, improve kidney function and deal with sore throats.

The early Cape settlers used the fruits to treat diarrhea.

The wood is hard, dense and borer and termite resistant which means that people have used this tree for making furniture, carvings, kitchen utensils and fence posts on farms.
Ecology EDIT
The Wild Olive berry fruit is a favourite for fruit-eating birds, so look out for the Grey Lourie, Speckled and Red-faced Mousebirds, Redwinged and Pied Starlings, Rameron and African Green Pigeon and the Blackeyed Bulbul. You may also see Vervet monkeys, Chacma baboon, mongoose and even warthog and bushpig feeding on the fruit in the tree or on the ground.

Game and stock animals also enjoy browsing on the leaves of this useful fodder tree. You will probably notice bees and butterflies making use of the pollen and nectar during the flowering season.
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