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Plant Information

Scientific Name: Olea europaea subs. africana
Alternative Names: Mohlware (So), UmNquma (Zu, Xho, Swa), Mutlhwari (Ve), Motlhware (Tswa)

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Olea europaea subs. africana
Olea europaea subs. africana


  • Perennial
  • Wild Olive is an indigenous, protected tree in the Free State, North West and the Northern Provence.
  • It is a small, neat evergreen tree with a dense spreading crown of glossy grey-green to dark green leaves that is silvery underneath.
  • The rough, grey bark sometimes peels off in strips.
  • Wild Olive or Olienhout, bears sprays of tiny, lightly scented flowers during summer, followed by small, thinly fleshy fruits (either sweet or sour) which ripen purple-black.
  • Needs full sun and will tolerate temperatures ranging from about -5°C to 40°C but you will have to protect it the first few winters.
  • It is slow-growing, drought and wind-resistant and is a good shade or screen plant in the home garden.
  • Do not plant it too close to walls, patios or swimming pools.
  • Popular to use for bonsai.
  • Wild Olive can be used to stabilize erosion dongas and ditches.
  • Can be propagated from seed or from hardwood cuttings.

Culinary Uses

  • The leaves can be used as a substitute for tea.

Parts Used

  • Mainly the dried leaves and sometimes the berries, roots and or stem bark.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • The early Cape settlers used the fruits to treat diarrhoea.
  • An infusion of the bark can be used to relieve colic.
  • Infusions of the leaves are used as an eye lotion, gargle to relieve sore throats, tonic and to lower blood pressure.

For Animals. It is said that

  • The fruits are popular with people, monkeys, baboons, mongooses, bush pigs, warthogs, birds, pigeons, Cape parrots and loerie birds.
  • The leaves are browsed by game and stock.
  • Wild Olive is an excellent fodder tree and an asset on farms and game farms, especially in very dry areas because it is extremely hardy.

Other Uses

  • The hard, heavy and beautiful golden-brown wood is used for furniture, ornaments, spoons and durable fence posts.
  • An ink is made from the juice of the fruit.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff

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