Olea europaea

Olea europaea_Olive_JM DiTomaso
Photo: Joseph DiTomaso

Common names: olive

Olea europaea (olive) is a shrub or tree (family Oleaceae) with fleshy one-seeded fruits that are spread by birds and mammals. It is native to African, temperate regions of western Asia, and the Mediterranean region of Europe. Trees are characterized by having grey bark and thick, leathery broadly lanceolate leaves that are dark green above and grey below. Though commonly grown as a crop in California, olive has escaped and naturalized widely in southern California and the Central Valley where it can invade grasslands and shrublands. Gardeners should use caution planting olives near open space and consider seedless varieties of this species instead.

Cal-IPC Rating: Limited?

CDFA Rating: None?


Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Weed Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

Other Olea europaea Information

  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution map of this species in California with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • Additional photos

    Olea europaea_flowers_copyright2010_NealKramer
    Olea europaea (olive) flowers. Photo: &#169 2010 Neal Kramer
    Olea europaea_fruits and leaves_copyright2011_NealKramer
    Olea europaea (olive) fruits and leaves. Photo: &#169 2011 Neal Kramer