07 Dec African olive and European olive
Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata; Olea europaea subsp. europa vars.
One of the most significant threats to the last remnants of Cumberland Plain woodlands in the Sydney Basin. Threatens further ecosystems in Sydney North. Forms dense mono-cultures beneath which no other vegetation remains.
Origin: Mediterranean region of Europe, Portugal, South Africa
Habit: Much branched evergreen tree 5-15m high with drooping branchlets. Thin greyish bark covered by protruding lenticels.
Leaves: Narrow, lance-shaped leaves 5-10cm long and up to 2cm wide with prominent midrib and recurved tip, dark green on upper surface, African: yellowish-brown on lower surface. European: silvery-grey on lower surface.
Flowers: Small white to cream or greenish tubular flowers forming in racemes at branch tips. Spring-Summer.
Fruit: Green berries that ripen to purplish-black in summer. African: round 1-2cm in diameter. European: oval shaped 2-5cm long.
Roots: Substantial tap root that gives rise to many laterals. Will re-shoot from any root stock left in ground.
Dispersal: Seed spread by water, animals (foxes, rats & birds), humans, contaminated soil (earthmoving equipment, car tyres etc) and garden refuse dumping.
Control: Hand dig/pull juvenile plants. Cut and Paint or Scrape and Paint, foliar spray. Bag and dispose of all berries.