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GWAA

The Garden Writers Association

 

Last Update 06/03/08

Plant of the Month

Bucida buceras

 Florida "Black Olive" Tree, Oxhorn Bucida, Gregory wood

Bucida is a widely used tree in South Florida. It is claimed to be native to the upper Florida Keys, but that is disputed. Commonly known as the "Black Olive" this member of the Combretaceae family does not produce edible olives, only small, hard, seed capsules. Florida Black Olive makes a wonderful and very large shade tree.

Bucida buceras -- Florida Black Olive tree

Black Olive trees need a great deal of room at maturity to spread out. 

Black Olive tree bark -- click to enlarge

Black Olive tree bark -- click to enlarge

Black Olive tree bark -- click to enlarge

Black Olive tree leaves -- click to enlarge



Young Black Olive leaves.

Young Black Olive leaves.

Young Black Olive tree.

Young Black Olive tree.

 

Plant Facts:

Common Name:   Florida "Black Olive" Tree, Oxhorn Bucida, Gregory wood

Botanical Name:   Bucida buceras

Family:  Combretaceae

Plant Type:  Evergreen tree

Origin: West Indies

Zones: 10B - 11

Height:  40 to 50', 35 to 50' wide

Rate of Growth: Slow

Salt Tolerance: High

Soil Requirements:  Does best in rich, moist, well-drained soil -- although can be grown in almost any type soil.

Water Requirements: Drought tolerant

Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly

Light Requirements: Full sun

Form:  Very dense, full, oval to rounded crown with age. Sometimes the top of the crown will flatten with age, and the tree grows horizontally.

Leaves:  To 4" long, dark bluish-green, oblanceolate; obovate shaped

Flowers: Small, yellow, odd smelling when in bloom -- very attractive to bees, produced in four-inch-long spikes during spring and summer

Fruits: Black, hard seed capsules

Pests or diseases:  Occasionally bothered by sooty mold and bark borer.

Uses:  Attractive to birds for nesting and cover, shade and specimen tree -- give plenty of room to grow. Does well in sea-side locations, heavy branches very wind tolerant.

Bad Habits: Messy -- drops leaves, spent blooms and seed capsules which stain sidewalks, cars or anything else they drop on -- roots uplift sidewalks and pavements.

Cost:  $ -- Very reasonable

Propagation:  Difficult from Seed, layering is more successful

Source:  University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service

 
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