Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Privacy screening from Phoenix AZ
April 14, 2013 - I live in the center of Phoenix, Az. On the eastern side of my house we have some 2 story condos next door. The width of the side yard is about 12'-15' and it gets lots of shade. I also have my powe...
view the full question and answer

Non-native crape myrtle resistance to deer from Annapolis MD
April 06, 2013 - Is Crape Myrtle tree resistant to deers? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Thorn bushes for a fence in Puerto Rico
November 17, 2015 - I'm looking for thorn bushes that grow in Puerto Rico. Want to use as fence to keep wild life in. Thanks, at least 5 ft tall so dogs can't get out.
view the full question and answer

What is eating the leaves of my oak tree in Cedar Park, TX?
May 25, 2010 - This one has a couple of arborists stumped. I have clusters of small, light-colored worms on the leaves of an oak tree, but no tents or webs. They are eating the chlorophyll in the leaves, leaving th...
view the full question and answer

Is western soapberry (Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii) dioecious?
February 15, 2008 - Hi! I found different information on the flowering habits of the western soapberry, Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii. Is it dioecious or polygamo-dioecious or none of them? I have some little seed...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.