Once a species catches on in the landscape trade, growers begin, of course, to study and learn how to efficiently produce it in large numbers as quickly as possible, but secondly they begin to observe the growth habit and features closely in hopes of spotting cultivars with different, stronger or more desirable features than the original species in general. Bucida buceras is a tree in the Combretaceae family. Only attempt to grow the tree in USDA hardiness zones 10B through 11. Will they both grow and fill out to have the natural drooping arm like design of most mature Shady Lady trees? These regions encompass southern California, parts of Hawaii and the southernmost tip of Florida. Some trees also grow a sharp thorn-like spine on old growth behind the leaf node. The Black Olive Tree (Bucida buceras) is a tropical tree native to Central America and most of the Caribbean, though some experts believe its origins may have reached north to the Florida Keys. The root system of the Black Olive Tree grows deep and downward and does not spread outward so this tree can be safely planted within 6 to 8 feet of walls, sidewalks, etc without fear of future problems developing. However, the species is extremely difficult to propagate from vegetative cuttings, and a significant number of seedling grown trees are not ultimately marketable due to significant differences in mature height, growth habit and speed of growth. In the late 1950’s the City of Miami circulated a bid proposal for the planting of approximately 100 Black Olive Trees along a new Parkway, but after searching for the trees for the project far and wide, the idea was ultimately abandoned due to the limited commercial availability of the species. Usage Before gaining commercial popularity for ornamental use, it was primarily used as a source for lumber, as the trunk is dense, heavy and very close grained. Before this tree gained commercial popularity for ornamental use, its primary use was as a lumber source. The bark may be used for tanning leather due to its tannin content. However, the compounding effect of the broad distribution of this proposal served to awaken the interest of local commercial nursery growers. For example the effort necessary to protect those gorgeous, exotic, but sensitive to the cold, tropical  blooming treasures from freezing during the winter, or the replacement of seasonal annuals when they pass their prime. He planted a pair at his church. The inedible fruit sets a few weeks later and is attractive to birds. In short, as trees goes, the Shady Lady Black Olive is a fine example of balance, and while not perfect in every way, in the right setting, she certainly brings an elegance, style and grace to a tropical landscape that by far outweighs her few faults…..in my humble opinion (of course). Some experts believe its native range includes the Florida Keys, but others believe this particular species was introduced later by foreigners. Your email address will not be published. It is not often adversely effected by pests or disease. Although the Dwarf Black Olive (Bucida molentii (syn spinosa)) is generally the preferred type for miniaturization, the Shady Lady Black Olive makes an excellent large Garden Bonsai specimen. One of the driving motivations for this project is preserving those stories and passing them on. In the early 1970’s commercial growers David Biggars and his son  (and my good friend) Dave Jr. collected seed from Bucida molentii (spinosa) at the Subtropical Experiment Station in Homestead. The story of how the Black Olive Tree came to be introduced into Florida, and then evolved to be one of the most popular and widely used street and urban trees in South Florida is an interesting bit of horticultural history, and offers a great example of the gardening axiom that should always be kept in mind when choosing plants is that no choice will be always be perfect in every way on every day. The Priest then gave away seeds to parishioners and others who admired the trees, and more seed was passed on by those folks, and by the early 1940’s Black Olive Trees had become a common feature in the Dade County landscape,  the overwhelming majority no doubt originating from the passing along of seed by individuals, as the Black Olive Tree had not yet garnered the notice of commercial landscape growers. That which is a desirable feature in one application, or even within a certain season, or growth stage can be a fault in another. Harvesting is now restricted or prohibited in many locations. The caterpillars are actually nothing more than a self limiting, short term nuisance and while they can cause some defoliation and browning sometimes, they do not cause any permanent damage. The Black Olive Tree (Bucida buceras) is a tropical tree native to Central America and the Caribbean. Do you have any suggestions for Bonita Springs Florida? It is commonly found in coastal swamps and wet inland forests in low elevations. [3][4], To grow it prefers high sunlight and rich, moist, well drained soil. Frequently it is as if the universe somehow gets tuned in to our problems with plants, as the solutions often present themselves serendipitously. The wood is dense, heavy and very close grained, and is favorite choice of boat builders. However, it was primarily harvested from the wild and not cultivated for that use. Small smooth oval leaves that emerge a light medium green and mature to a deep, slightly blue toned green grow along unusual zig-zagged formed stems. There were also Bucida buceras trees growing in the surrounding area. Some experts believe its native range includes the Florida Keys, but others believe this particular species was introduced later by foreigners. Breakage within the canopy and the loss of geotrophism (knowing up from down) was also called out as a fault in this species following hurricane Andrew. As a whole the species is highly salt tolerant and puts down deep anchoring roots making it able to endure high winds with little damage. They have been planted for 5 years now and are 25 to 30 ft tall. One of things we like most about plants is the rich and interesting stories and histories about them. Your email address will not be published. The Shady Lady Black Olive grows more dense, tight, uniform, and smaller. 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