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Author Topic: Any experience with Olea capensis (black ironwood)?  (Read 172 times)


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Any experience with Olea capensis (black ironwood)?
« on: January 10, 2018, 06:34:37 AM »
I've been looking into African fruit plants recently, for diversity.  One that came up was Olea capensis (black ironwood), a relative of the olive.  It has a number of interesting properties, including:

 * Abundant, sweet-smelling, monoecious flowers
 * Shade tolerance
 * Hardy to both dry and moist conditions
 * The densest known wood in the world (50% denser than water!)
 * Can potentially live for thousands of years
 * Attractive bark
 * While slow growing as an adult, young growth is at a moderate pace - faster than would be expected for a tree with the above properties

The big questions I can't find the answer to are about the fruit.  It's said to be edible and tasty, but not widely utilized. The taste hasn't been much described anywhere I've seen, beyond "succulent".  I'm a bit hesitant with a plant that isn't widely utilized in its native range - the question is always, why?  Is it like olives wherein the unfermented fruit is too bitter to be enjoyable, and you need to either ferment the fruit or press an oil out of them? Are the fruits usually inaccessible on higher branches?  Too much work in hand processing?  Or are they just no good?

The other big question about the fruit is also, obviously, how big does it need to be to actually fruit?  Not much use for a plant where you have to wait decades for it to grow into a giant tree before there's any yield, of course.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 11:32:01 AM by KarenRei »
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