Hunter Region Landcare

Good plant: Bad plant

Flora, Plant Nerd, The Scoop

I had a question the other day about how to tell the difference between an African Olive (Olea europea ssp cuspidata) and Mock Olive (Notelaea microcarpa), having spent quite a bit of time killing the former and trying not to kill the latter I work with the following features


Mock Olive: Leathery leaves, darker flat green, bark has scars running at right angles to the branch, bark is glossy, generally lots of lichen.

Mock Olive: shiny bark, scars at right angles to the stem

Mock Olive, dull, leathery.


African Olive: Smooth leaves, shiny, dark green above, khaki below, tip of the leaf has a little hook, bark dull grey lots of small sand grain size bumps (a.k.a. “prominent lenticels”), less lichen.

African Olive: dull, lots of sand grain size dots (prominent lenticels).

African Olive: Shiny upper surface, small “hook” at the end of the leaf.

African Olive: Yellowish underside.


Keep an eye out on our Youtube channel and Facebook page, I’ll shortly have a video up