En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - June 29, 2012

From: Chappell Hill, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Trees
Title: a source for fruitless olive (non-native) trees
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I was given a "mexican olive" several years ago which is doing very well. This one is non-fruiting and I would like to have another that is non-fruiting but cannot find one. Cordia boissieri seems to be the only plant name but all those I find have fruit. Is there a variety that does not fruit?

ANSWER:

I  have not been able to find a source for fruitless olives in your vicinity.  What you have may indeed be Cordia boissieri, but it could also be a totally different olive species, such as Swan Hill Olive ®, grown on the Olea europaea cv, "Oblonga" rootstock.  This latter tree is the most popular of several related fruitless olive species.  Other cultivars are Wilsonii and Majestic Beauty.  Texas nurserymen are very enterprising, and I suspect that if these fruitless olives were well suited for Texas they would be more widely available.  Their absence is likely due to their cold sensitivity.  C. boissieri is said to survive only down to 20 degrees F., and O. europaea will be lost at 28-26 degrees F.  Your tree must be in a well protected spot, or you have just been lucky with the weather.

I am not very familiar with these non-native trees since our specialty is native plants.  You can find more information at nursery sites in Arizona and California.  You can probably mail-order trees from there.  However, I think it would be risky to try and grow these species.  Over the next few years we are likely to have at least one really cold spell that could take them out.

You might want to consider planting a cold-hardy native tree that has a growth habit similar to the olives.  I could suggest Ebenopsis ebano (Texas ebony), Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon), Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel), or Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon).  If you visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center web site of plant suppliers and enter your zip code or address you will find names of local native plant suppliers.

Shown below are images of the native trees that I recommend.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas ebony
Ebenopsis ebano

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

More Trees Questions

Removing yaupon hollies from yard in Austin
July 04, 2009 - We recently moved into a home w/ way too many and much too large (20-30') yaupon holly's in the back yard. I had some of them cut down, but they keep coming up from the roots of the old trees. How ...
view the full question and answer

Why aren't all blue spruce trees blue?
February 07, 2010 - I have been looking at blue spruce trees recently and I have noticed at a couple tree farms that not all blue spruce look blue at all. Some that are listed as Co. Blue Spruce are very green. The sha...
view the full question and answer

Pruning smoketree in New Jersey
May 29, 2009 - How far from ground level do I prune a relatively young Smoke tree to get the bush effect?
view the full question and answer

Privacy screening from Prosperity SC
May 19, 2013 - I need to know what would be a good tree to plant for blocking my neighbor's home it needs to be an evergreen and slender in the space it would take.
view the full question and answer

Young oak tree with dead branches
April 10, 2009 - I purchased my home new a year ago and we have three young oak trees that came with the house. Two of the trees are doing great and their new leaves have grown in. One tree however still has dead le...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center