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Forestiera pubescens var. pubescens Nutt.
Stretchberry, Elbowbush, Stretch-berry, Downy forestiera, Desert olive, Elbow-bush
Synonyms: Forestiera neomexicana
USDA Symbol: fopup
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Desert olive is a multi-branched, deciduous shrub, 4-9 ft. tall, with smooth, gray bark; arched branches; spiny branchlets, and light-green leaves. Flowers are inconspicuous but fragrant. Tiny, blue fruits occur in clusters on the female plants. This is a thicket-forming, deciduous shrub.
This drought-tolerant plant is well-suited for use as a spreading background plant or ground cover where grass wont grow. It is widely adaptable – tolerating dry or moist soil, sun or shade.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Shape:
Linear Size Notes:
5-10 feet tall. Leaf:
Gray-Green Flower: Sepals
in fours or sometimes fives and reduced. Stamens
yellow with no petals Fruit:
Black, Blue Size Class:
6-12 ft. , 12-36 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr
AZ , CA , CO , NM , NV , OK , TX , UT Native Distribution:
CO, UT & CA, s. to w. Tex. & n. Mex. Native Habitat:
Thickets, Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs, Woodlands edge, Opening USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Poor, well-drained soils.
Nice gray-green foliage. Use Wildlife:
The plant provides valuable browse and fruit
for wildlife and the early blooms are an important source of food for bees. Nectar-insects, Nectar-bees, Nectar-butterflies, Browse, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals Conspicuous Flowers:
Birds , Butterflies Larval Host:
Hairstreaks Nectar Source:
Germinates from untreated seed planted in late March to early April. Roots easily from softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings. Transplanting is easy because of shallow, easily dug roots. Seed Collection:
when it has turned dark purple in late summer. Air dry seeds with or without pulp. Store in ventilated bags or containers in cool, dry place. Seed Treatment:
No pretreatment is necessary, although one month stratification may improve results. Commercially Avail:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- Austin, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-204
Collected 2008-05-12 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
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Record Modified: 2011-05-20
Research By: TMH