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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.

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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

 

 

 

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