Olea L.

Sp.Pl. 2:8 (1753)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Family Oleaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Trees, or shrubs; evergreen. Leaves opposite; decussate; leathery; petiolate; simple. Leaf blades dorsiventral; entire; pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire. Vegetative buds scaly. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Domatia recorded; represented by pits, or pockets, or hair tufts. Leaf anatomy. Hairs present; complex hairs present. Complex hairs peltate. Stem anatomy. Nodes unilacunar. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite, or hermaphrodite, functionally male, and functionally female. Unisexual flowers present, or absent. Plants hermaphrodite, or polygamomonoecious.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’. Inflorescence many-flowered. Flowers in cymes. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary; cymes raceme-like or panicle-like. Flowers bracteate. Bracts minute. Flowers fragrant, or odourless; regular; 4 merous; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present (around the gynoecium), or absent; extrastaminal. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 8; 2 -whorled; isomerous. Calyx present; 4; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; shallowly lobed, or entire; valvate; regular. Corolla present; 4; 1 -whorled; gamopetalous; valvate; regular. Corolla lobes slightly longer than broad. Fertile stamens present, or absent (from female flowers). Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 2. Androecial sequence not determinable. Androecial members adnate (to the corolla); free of one another; 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 2; becoming exserted; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth; oppositisepalous; all alternating with the corolla members; filantherous (filament short, anther large). Anthers oblong; dorsifixed, or basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent (from male flowers). Gynoecium 2 carpelled. The pistil 2 celled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 2 locular. Gynoecium median, or oblique, or transverse; stylate. Styles 1 (short); apical. Stigmas 2 - lobed; dry type; papillate, or non-papillate; Group II type. Placentation axile. Ovules 2 per locule; pendulous, or ascending; with dorsal raphe; collateral; non-arillate; anatropous, or amphitropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a drupe (elliptical or ovoid, endocarp bony, exocarp pulpy); 1–2 seeded. Seeds endospermic, or non-endospermic. Endosperm oily. Embryo rudimentary at the time of seed release, or weakly differentiated to well differentiated. Cotyledons 2. Embryo achlorophyllous; straight. Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar, or cryptocotylar.

Geography, cytology, number of species. Adventive. Australian states and territories: Western Australia. South-West Botanical Province.

Economic uses, etc. Edible fruit and edible and medicinal ‘olive oil’ from Olea europaea.

H.R. Coleman, 8 September 2016

Taxonomic Literature

  • Wheeler, Judy; Marchant, Neville; Lewington, Margaret; Graham, Lorraine (2002). Flora of the south west, Bunbury, Augusta, Denmark. Volume 2, dicotyledons. Australian Biological Resources Study. Canberra.
  • Wheeler, J. R.; Rye, B. L.; Koch, B. L.; Wilson, A. J. G.; Western Australian Herbarium (1992). Flora of the Kimberley region. Western Australian Herbarium. Como, W.A.
  • Marchant, N. G.; Wheeler, J. R.; Rye, B. L.; Bennett, E. M.; Lander, N. S.; Macfarlane, T. D.; Western Australian Herbarium (1987). Flora of the Perth region. Part one. Western Australian Herbarium. [Perth].