Botanical name

Olea capensis subsp. capensis

Family

Oleaceae

Common Name

Small Ironwood, Swartysterhout
Olea capensis subsp. capensis
Olea capensis subsp. capensis
Olea capensis subsp. capensis
Olea capensis subsp. capensis
Olea capensis subsp. capensis

Description

Often a bushy shrub or small tree. Bark light grey becoming dark grey and vertically fissured with age; a characteristic blackish gum is exuded from bark wounds. Leaves lanceolate to oblong to almost circular, light to dark green and glossy above, usually paler green below, midrib prominent below, apex broadly tapering to almost rounded, margin entire, thickened and often very wavy; leaf stalk often purplish. Flowers very small, in many-flowered axillary terminal heads, cream or white, sweetly scented.

Fruit ovoid, fleshy up to 1cm in diameter, purple when mature and pleasant to taste and favoured by birds.

Two subspecies are recognised in Fernkloof: Olea capensis subsp.capensis and Olea capensis subsp. macrocarpa.

Olea capensis subsp. capensis is the shrubbier version, has larger, rounder leaves with thickened margins and larger fruit and usually found in coastal bush.                                                                                                                                  Olea capensis subsp. macrocarpa is a forest tree and forms part of the forest canopy, the leaves are more elliptic and taper to a fine point; the fruit is smaller.

 

Habitat

Coastal bush

Flower Date

February to December