Olive Olives: A Medley of Olive Family Members

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum, October 29, 2018 - November 11, 2018
David Zuckerman
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum,
October 29, 2018 – November 11, 2018

1)  Chionanthus virginicus                          Fringetree

  • This deciduous small tree or shrub is native to the southeastern United States.
  • Its common name refers to the slightly fragrant, spring-blooming flowers which feature airy, terminal, and drooping clusters (4-6″ long) of fringe-like, creamy white petals.
  • This cutting came from a shrubby specimen located east of the Arboretum Loop Trail and north of the Viburnums.

2)  Fraxinus americana ‘Rosehill’                          White Ash

  • This White ash cultivar ‘Rosehill’ is a seedless, broad-conical cultivar that typically grows 35-50’ tall.
  • All true ash in North America have been under attack by the Emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle. It is only a matter of time before EAB finds its way to the Pacific Northwest.
  • The genus Fraxinus is in its own Oleaceae (Olive family) tribe and contains between 45-65 species of mostly deciduous medium-to-large trees.
  • Two Rosehill specimens can be found in our True Ash Collection, west of Azalea Way, about midway down.

3)  Olea europaea ‘Frantoio’                           Frantoio Olive Tree

  • We currently only have one olive tree in our Mediterranean Collection located just off Arboretum Drive.
  • This cultivar is touted to be one of the best for the Pacific Northwest. It is hardy to 10 degrees or below.
  • Plant in a well-drained soil in full sun for best performance. Our specimen has one unripe olive. Here’s to many more ripe olives next year!

4)  Osmanthus heterophyllus                          Holly Tea Olive

  • Broad-leaved evergreen shrub or small tree, reminiscent of English Holly, hence its common name.
  • Fragrant when in bloom, which is now.
  • Native to eastern Asia and recommended as a good substitute for English Holly, which is a King County noxious weed of concern.
  • Several mature Holly Tea Olive specimens are located in our Oleaceae bed off Azalea Way in our True Ash Collection.

5)  Phillyrea latifolia var. media                          Green Olive Tree/Mock Privet

  • This olive relative is a broad-leaf evergreen small tree or shrub native to the Mediterranean area.
  • Its foliage resembles that of olive and privet, hence its common names. Its fruit is a black drupe like an olive.
  • This suitable plant for Pacific Northwest gardens can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or full sun, is not fussy about soil type, is drought-tolerant once established, and is a good hedge plant.
  • Several specimens are located at the east entrance to the Viburnum display.