Tree Weeds

African Olive & 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.
  • Family Oleaceae
  • 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.

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