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.
Common Name: Florida “Black Olive” Tree, Oxhorn Bucida, Gregory wood
Botanical Name: Bucida buceras
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