Green Olive Tree (Phillyrea latifolia)

/ / Trees and Shrubs


Phillyrea latifolia is found within the Family Oleaceae.   It is either a shrub or tree, reaching up to 15 metres in height (1). Young leaves are two to seven centimetres long, oval and heart-shaped at the base.  The adult laves are one to six centimetres long and are lance to elliptical in shape.  All the leaves are dark green, leathery with seven to 10 pairs of distinct lateral veins. Edges of the leaves may be toothed. The leaves grow in pairs, opposite to each other (2). The flowers are mainly white but sometimes they can be tinged with purple. Fruits are globe-like and fleshy with diameter of seven to 10 mm, they turn bluish-black when ripe (3).

Life Cycle

The Green Olive Tree is evergreen and thus keeps its leaves all year round (1). Flowering happens between March and May (3).


They can be found in maquis habitats, open woods, rocky places, ravines and roadsides (3).  They can grow on moist or dry land, this species has great resistance towards drought (2).


It is commonly found throughout the Mediterranean (3).

Conservation status

It is not mentioned in IUCN Red List (4).


Description written by Aino Helakallio (2009)

(1)   Polunin. O. (1997) Flowers of Greece and the Balkans, Oxford University Press, Oxford

(2)   El Medinatural del Bages (2009) Phillyrea latifolia [online] Available: [date accessed: 07/07/2009]

(3)   Blamey. M., and Grey-Wilson. C. (1993) Mediterranean Wild Flowers, Domino Books Ltd., Jersey

(4)   IUCN (2009) IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [online] Available: [date accessed: 07/07/2009]