A tall tree or stunted shrub able to tolerate extreme soil and climate conditions. It is widely distributed in dry forest and forest margins. In Tanzania it is found in drier mountain areas of Usa, Kilimanjaro, Pare, and Mbulu (RSCU 1992).
Minimum Altitude (m):
Maximum Altitude (m):
Soil Requirements: Prefers good forest soil and sites with lime rich soils.
Influential Factors: It is hardy and tolerant of drought and frost once established.
Means of Propagation: Wildlings, seed, and cuttings.
Seeds per kg:
Seed Treatments: Fruit is small (1 cm), round and hard, containing 1 seed per fruit. The fruit pulp should be removed and the seeds dried before transporting or storing.
Pretreatment is not necessary for fresh seeds. Soak old seed in water for 48 hours (RSCU 1992). They can be stored for about 2 months.
Seedling Management: The species is a poor seeder and germination rates are generally low (RSCU 1992).
Planting Types: Planted along boundaries, roads, and near home compounds. Root growth is very extensive under the soil, and may compete in agroforestry situations.
Growth Factors: Generally believed to be slow growing, but grows rather quickly under good conditions. It is very hardy (Palmer and Pitman 1972).
Limitations to Planting: Seedlings are difficult to raise.
Management Systems: Commercial edible olives can be successfully grafted onto O. europaea (Palgrave 1988).
Use #1: MEDICINE
An infusion of bark is used to relieve colic. Leaves are used as a gargle for sore throats and an infusion of leaves is used as an eye lotion for humans and animals (Palgrave 1988). Sticks are also used and sold for toothbrushes.
Use #2: FUELWOOD
It is a pleasant smelling firewood. It makes good charcoal and firewood because of its high density and calorific value. However, it is thought to be too slow growing to raise for only this purpose.
Use #3: GENERAL PURPOSE WOOD
The wood is close grained, hard, and very strong. It works well and takes a nice finish. It is highly regarded for furniture, flooring, carvings, water containers, and walking sticks. It is also used for fencing. Another important use is for milk storage containers. It is regarded as one of the best woods for this purpose.
OTHER USES: The fruits are edible and its flowers attract bees.