Olea europaea subsp. europaea

Common Olive

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Much-branched tree 2–15 m high; branches more or less glabrous, ribbed when young. Leaves narrow-oblong to elliptic, mostly 3–7 cm long and 8–10 mm wide, acute, margins entire and recurved, discolorous, grey-green and glabrous above, below with a dense covering of silver peltate scales; petiole to c. 10 mm long. Inflorescences axillary, subpaniculate, mostly 5–6 cm long; pedicels to c. 1 mm long. Calyx 1–2 mm long, with obscure triangular teeth; corolla 4–5 mm long, white or cream, tube 1–2 mm long, lobes reflexed at anthesis. Drupe c. globose to ellipsoid, 15–25 mm long, c. 6 mm wide, fleshy, purple-black, glaucous when ripe. Flowers spring and summer.

*CVU, *Gold, *HSF, *MuM, *VRiv, *VVP, *Wim. Also naturalised WA, SA, Qld, NSW. Native to the Mediterranean region and south-west Asia. Grown for its oil-producing fruits and occasionally spontaneous in Victoria.

Subsp. cuspidata (Wall. ex G.Don) Cif, which is naturalised throughout New South Wales including near the Murray River at Tocumwal, has longer and broader leaves with a green or yellowish-brown lower surface and a prominent hook at the apex. Some naturalised Victorian material has some, but not all, of these characteristics.

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Oleaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-11-19
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Lamiales
family Oleaceae
genus Olea
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Olea europaea subsp. europaea in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Olea europaea subsp. europaea in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present cultivated
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales