Olea europaea

Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata

Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata is a subspecies of olive that was previously described as Olea cuspidata.

Common names

It is has various local common names including African Olive, Wild Olive, Indian Olive or Zambujeiro da India.


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

Leaves opposite decussate arrangement, entire, 3 to 7 cm long, 0.8 to 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.

Fruit in panicles or racmes, 50 to 60mm long. Calyx 4-lobed, c. 1mm long. Corolla greenish white or cream; tube 1 to 2mm long; lobes c. 3mm long, reflexed at anthesis. Stamens 2, fused near the top of the corolla tube; bilobed stigma.

Fruit a drupe globose to ellipsoid, 6mm diam and 15 to 25 mm long, fleshy, glaucous to dull shine when ripe, purple-black. Flowers usually in spring.


An extensive native range from South Africa, through Africa, the Middle East, India to China.

Local problems

In Australia it is classified as a noxious weed. It is spread mainly by birds eating the fruit.


Synonyms include Olea africana Mill. Olea chrysophylla Lam.; Olea cuspidata Wall. ex G. Don; Olea europaea subsp. africana (Mill.) P. S. Green; Olea ferruginea Royle; Olea sativa var. verrucosa (Willd.) Roem. & Schult.; Olea verrucosa (Willd.) Link

Subtropical dry forests of Olea europaea cuspidata are found in the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests ecoregion.


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