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Forestiera segregata, Wild Olive

Florida Privet is a 10- to 15-foot-tall shrub or small tree that is densely foliated with small, evergreen leaves. The dark, glossy green leaves are oblong to elliptic in shape and are sometimes shed in the winter. The form commonly found in south Florida (Dade County) has a much smaller leaf than those from other parts of the state. The bark of the younger trees is light brown or gray, and older specimens have a pale yellow bark that is mottled with light brown and green. The bark of the older trees is also roughened by many small, raised lenticels.

Bees are attracted to the tiny, corolla-less flowers that have greenish yellow or reddish purple stamens. These flowers are borne individually or in clusters of three or four along the branches, and they occur in the winter and early spring before the new leaves emerge. Pollen from males cause significant allergies; females do not produce pollen. The fruits are purplish or dark blue berries that ripen in the spring and summer. The birds favor these berries, and the plant produces the fruits in abundance.

Florida Privet may be successfully used as a specimen or hedge. With regular clipping, it can be planted along a foundation. It makes a superior hedge and is very tolerant of clipping and shearing. Small leaf size and moderate growth rate make it suited for maintaining at almost any height. For best results, keep the lower portion of the hedge wider than the top. Early training can produce a small tree for planting in home landscapes and other areas requiring a small, multi-trunked tree.

This cold hardy plant requires a planting site that receives full sun, and a well-drained soil. It grows poorly in mucky soils. Its native, upland coastal habitat associates include Bay Cedar, Spanish Bayonet, Cocoplum and other drought and salt tolerant plants. Soils in this habitat are very sandy with shell fragments and a neutral or alkaline pH. Forestiera acuminata is a similar plant hardy into zone 5 that grows in the swamps. National champion F. acuminata is 41 x 49 feet in Mississippi.

Forestiera acuminata is a similar plant hardy into zone 5 that grows in the swamps. Forestiera ligustrina grows in the flatwoods and mesic upland hardwood forests of Florida.

Wild Olive Tree Photos
Wild Olive Tree

Wild Olive Tree

Wild Olive LEaves

Wild Olive Branch with Olives

Wild Olive Tree Branch