But, more about that on some other day. Despite the common name, this tree (Bucida buceras) is completely unrelated to the edible olive (Olea europaea). The average 20 to 30 feet mature height makes it better suited for street, parking lot, and other commercial and urban applications. The fruit of Bucida buceras however has little pulp and is not edible. The caterpillars are actually nothing more than a self limiting, short term nuisance and while they can cause some defoliation and browning sometimes, they do not cause any permanent damage. The Black Olive nomer is likely the result of the vague resemblance of the fruit to the edible olive (mostly round with a single seed). By the mid 70’s, although commercial demand for the Black Olive Tree remained strong, the nursery profession had a love/hate relationship with it. However the Dwarf Black Olive (Bucida molentii syn spinosa), which reaches only about 8 feet tall and has very small leaves, probably is indigenous to the Keys and perhaps some other coastal areas of South Florida. He planted a pair at his church. It is known by a variety of names in English, including bullet tree, black olive tree, gregorywood (or gregory wood), Antigua whitewood, and oxhorn bucida. But there was something about that one tree that piqued his interest. The tipping of that scale between good and bad is subjective and most often little more than the opinion of the observer, as well as the simple matter of how bad do you want it? There were also Bucida buceras trees growing in the surrounding area. The tree canopy grows dense and tight, with most having an outward, spreading horizontal habit. However, subsequent and more recent high wind storm events have shown that the Black Olive Trees held up as well as any other species, and better than most. What is simply too much work and bother for one gardener is a labor of love for another. We are between Fort Myers and Naples Florida. The original Bucida buceras had a lot going for them. The Black Olive Tree (Bucida buceras) is a tropical tree native to Central America and the Caribbean. Will they both grow and fill out to have the natural drooping arm like design of most mature Shady Lady trees? It is native to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America. One is nice and fully round and the other was tall and more rectangular oval shape but I have not done any trimming on the inside.. Is that really necessary to do other than wind breakage? , To grow it prefers high sunlight and rich, moist, well drained soil. Bucida buceras is a tree in the Combretaceae family. However, the species is extremely difficult to propagate from vegetative cuttings, and a significant number of seedling grown trees are not ultimately marketable due to significant differences in mature height, growth habit and speed of growth. For example the effort necessary to protect those gorgeous, exotic, but sensitive to the cold, tropical blooming treasures from freezing during the winter, or the replacement of seasonal annuals when they pass their prime. The Black Olive Tree (Bucida buceras) is a tropical tree native to Central America and the Caribbean. This was the best and most informative article that we read on our Shady Ladies. The wood is dense, heavy and very close grained, and is favorite choice of boat builders. That which is a desirable feature in one application, or even within a certain season, or growth stage can be a fault in another. Harvesting is now restricted or prohibited in many locations. Once a species catches on in the landscape trade, growers begin, of course, to study and learn how to efficiently produce it in large numbers as quickly as possible, but secondly they begin to observe the growth habit and features closely in hopes of spotting cultivars with different, stronger or more desirable features than the original species in general. The tiny yellowish green to golden beige petal-less flowers cover the entire canopy of the tree making it appear like a brown sugar coated confection when the sun shines through, proving that flowers do not always have to be large and brightly colored to be breathtakingly beautiful. When choosing plants, there is always a fine balance that exists between good and bad, feature and fault, pro and con. Only attempt to grow the tree in USDA hardiness zones 10B through 11. , The wood of the bullet tree is extremely hard and durable. Some trees also grow a sharp thorn-like spine on old growth behind the leaf node. The species was originally brought to the Miami area from Jamaica by a Catholic priest some time in the early 1900s. Breakage within the canopy and the loss of geotrophism (knowing up from down) was also called out as a fault in this species following hurricane Andrew. As it would turn out the tree that David Sinclair would ultimately come to name the superior and improved cultivar Shady Lady, and it would eventually become the industry standard for the popular species. One of the driving motivations for this project is preserving those stories and passing them on. Although the Dwarf Black Olive (Bucida molentii (syn spinosa)) is generally the preferred type for miniaturization, the Shady Lady Black Olive makes an excellent large Garden Bonsai specimen. Generally these trees will reach a mature height ranging from 20 to 80 feet, develop strong, sturdy, large diameter trunks that are covered by a thick, dense gray, deeply fissured bark. The Shady Lady Black Olive grows more dense, tight, uniform, and smaller. Do you have any suggestions for Bonita Springs Florida? The Priest then gave away seeds to parishioners and others who admired the trees, and more seed was passed on by those folks, and by the early 1940’s Black Olive Trees had become a common feature in the Dade County landscape, the overwhelming majority no doubt originating from the passing along of seed by individuals, as the Black Olive Tree had not yet garnered the notice of commercial landscape growers. The crop of starter plants produced from this seed was sold to David Sinclair at Sinclair Landscape Nursery in Miami. Your email address will not be published. Staining of surfaces underneath Black Olive Trees which was once also considered a major fault of the tree is actually just a natural, organic and temporary side effect of the ….err……waste products produced by the caterpillar (scientifically referred to as frass) and yes, it means what you think it means). We love all plants here, and have rarely met a plant that we could not find some likeable feature in. Before this tree gained commercial popularity for ornamental use, its primary use was as a lumber source.
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