Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata

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Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata
Olea europaea ssp cuspidata Bra38.png
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Olea
Species: O. europaea
Subspecies: O. e. subsp. cuspidata
Trinomial name
Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata
  • Linociera lebrunii Staner
  • Olea africana Mill.
  • Olea aucheri A.Chev. ex Ehrend.
  • Olea chrysophylla Lam.
  • Olea cuspidata Wall. ex G.Don
  • Olea indica Kleinhof ex Burm.f.
  • Olea kilimandscharica Knobl.
  • Olea monticola Gand.
  • Olea schimperi Gand.
  • Olea somaliensis Baker
  • Olea subtrinervata Chiov.
  • Olea verrucosa (Willd.) Link

Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata is a subspecies of olive previously described as Olea cuspidata and Olea africana. It has various common names, including wild olive, brown olive, Indian olive,[2] Olienhout[citation needed] and iron tree.[citation needed]


This much-branched evergreen tree varies in size from 2 to 15 metres (7 to 50 ft) high. The leaves have an opposite, decussate arrangement, and are entire, 3 to 7 centimetres (1.2 to 2.8 in) long and 8 to 25 millimetres (0.3 to 1 in) wide; the apex is acute with a small hook or point, and the base is attenuate to cuneate. Leaf margins are entire and recurved, the upper surface is grey-green and glossy, and the lower surface has a dense covering of silvery, golden or brown scales. Domatia are absent; venation is obvious on the upper surface and obscure on the lower surface; the petiole is up to 10 millimetres (0.4 in) long.

Fruit are borne in panicles or racmes 50 to 60 millimetres (2.0 to 2.4 in) long. The calyx is four-lobed, about 1 millimetre (0.04 in) long. The corolla is greenish-white or cream; the tube is 1 to 2 millimetres (0.039 to 0.079 in) long; lobes are about 3 millimetres (0.12 in) long and reflexed at the anthesis. The two stamens are fused near the top of the corolla tube, with bilobed stigma.

The globose to ellipsoid fruit is a drupe, 6 millimetres (0.24 in) in diameter and 15 to 25 millimetres (0.59 to 0.98 in) long; it is fleshy, glaucous to a dull shine when ripe, and purple-black. The tree usually flowers in spring.

The wood is much-prized and durable, with a strong smell similar to bay rum, and is used for fine furniture and turnery.


An extensive native range from South Africa, through Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, India to China. Subtropical dry forests of Olea europaea cuspidata are found in the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests ecoregion. In areas where it is not native, such as Australia, it is classified as a noxious weed. It is spread mainly by birds eating the fruit.


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