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Olea europaea L.
Family Oleaceae
Common name: Common Olive

Olea europaea L. APNI*

Description: Much-branched tree, variable in size from 2–15 m high.

Leaves ± narrow oblong to elliptic, 3–7 cm long, 0.8–2.5 cm wide, apex acute with a small hook or point, base attenuate to cuneate, margins entire and recurved, upper surface grey-green and glossy, lower surface with a dense covering of silvery, golden or brown scales; domatia absent; venation obvious on upper surface, obscure on lower surface; petiole to 10 mm long.

Inflorescence branches 5–6 cm long. Calyx 4-lobed, c. 1 mm long. Corolla greenish white or cream; tube 1–2 mm long; lobes c. 3 mm long, ± reflexed at anthesis. Stamens 2, fused near the top of the corolla tube; stigma ± bilobed.

Drupe ± globose to ellipsoid, 15–25 mm long, c. 6 mm diam., fleshy, glaucous, purple-black, when ripe.


Other photo
Photo J. R. Hosking

Flowering: usually spring.

Distribution and occurrence: Grows in disturbed sites, often along roadsides and river banks; south from Lismore area. Native of Medit. region & SW Asia.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *SC, *NC, *NWS, *CWS, *SWS, *SWP, *LHI
Other Australian states: *Vic. *S.A.
AVH map***

Image shows leaf differences between the two subspecies.

Text by D. W. Hardin (1992); edited KL Wilson (Nov 2011)
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 3 (1992)

 Key to the subspecies 
1Leaves mostly 3–7 cm long, 8–10 mm wide, apex without hooked tip, lower surface whitish or silverysubsp. europaea
Leaves mostly 6–10 cm long, 10–25 mm wide, often with a hooked apex, lower surface green or yellowish brownsubsp. cuspidata

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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