En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
4 ratings

Thursday - June 05, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Fruit on Mexican olive in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Does Mexican Olive set fruit in Austin? Does there need to be a male and female tree or not. How old does the plant have to be to set fruit? Mine is three years old but no olives. I need to know when to order my olive oil press.

ANSWER:

Better hold off on that press. From a number of different sources, we found this kind of information on the fruit of the Cordia boissieri (anacahuita): "fruit not edible," "parts of plants poisonous if ingested," "Sweet fruit relished by birds and other wildlife and, although edible by man, should not be eaten in quantities," "purple fruit is said to be edible but may cause dizziness and intoxication, so consumption is not recommended." The best website on the tree we found is this Greenbeam site. The general consensus seems to be this is a great tree for the Southwest, probably can avoid frost damage as far north as San Antonio, somewhat rare but can be propagated by cuttings, and gorgeous blooms May to June. Beyond that, let the birds have the fruit and buy olive oil, it's probably cheaper than the press.


Cordia boissieri

Cordia boissieri

Cordia boissieri

Cordia boissieri

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Driveway through a cluster of Oak trees
June 16, 2015 - Construction of a cement driveway through an 8 tree cluster of escarpment oaks is going to require removal of 2 trees in the center. How can this be done without causing damage to remaining trees? Als...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Live Oaks in Mesa AZ
March 26, 2013 - I have two Evergreen Live Oaks in central Arizona. One is flourishing and getting new spring leaves from top to bottom. Its trunk is rough, has large grooves, and the spots where I've pruned look li...
view the full question and answer

Junipers for restoring area in Bulverde TX
November 03, 2012 - Are ashe or virginiana junipers for sale around the hill country? I would like to recreate the natural plant life that was bulldozed next to my home. Do you recommend any other types of juniper that ...
view the full question and answer

Disease and soil disturbance effects on Pacific madrone
April 02, 2007 - I have a couple acres, here in Northern California Sierra Nevada foothills. My property has many, many trees - quite a few are the beautiful (yet messy!) Arbutus menziesii, or Pacific Madrone. Some ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of Escarpment Oak from Austin
May 18, 2014 - We have a 2-year-old quercus fusiformis in our front yard and have been advised by some people that we need to remove the bottom branches and trim the ends of the branches that are hanging far down. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center