Black Olive

Species Name Bucida buceras
Leaf Color Green upper leaf, yellow green lower leaf
Mature Height  30-40 ft
Mature Canopy Broad, beautiful crown
Flower Inconspicuous
Growth Very slow
Light Requirements Full sun or broken, high shade
Salt Tolerance High
Water Requirements Not extremely drought tolerant, water faithfully

Contrary to its name, the small black fruits of the black olive tree are not really olives, and they aren’t edible. There’s still plenty to love about this sun-loving shade tree.

The black olive is a warm-weather tree that grows in almost any soil and isn’t bothered by wind or salt air, making it a perfect shade tree for seaside Southern Florida locations. This tree can attain a height of 50 feet with a large, rounded crown spreading 35 feet or more. Make sure to give it plenty of room to grow. The leaves are egg-shaped and a deep, glossy bluish-green. Spicily scented small yellow flowers grow on four-inch stalks that eventually produce the hard, olive-like fruit. The black olive is especially attractive to bees. The fruits can sometimes stain concrete, so it’s best to plant the black olive in grassy or open areas.

Although the black olive needs regular watering during the first year after planting, once established it is extremely drought resistant. A slight yellowing or drooping of the foliage indicates dehydration and the tree recovers when watered promptly.

Most often grown as an ornamental shade tree, the black olive can also be cultivated as a tightly pruned hedge.