Feral olive (Olea europaea subsp. europaea)

Feral olive is a large shrub dispersed by birds to become a major environmental weed in parts of south-east of Australia.


How does this weed affect you?

The feral olive is  a major environmental weed in parts of south-east of Australia. It can outcompete native plants and dominate forest or woodland understorey.

What does it look like?

Feral olive is a many-branched evergreen shrub or tree usually growing to 2-10 m high. It can occasionally grow to 15 m. The leaves are up to 7 cm long and 1 cm wide, the lower surface is whitish or silvery. The leaf apex does not have a hooked tip. The flowers are creamy-white, tubular at the base spreading to 4 tiny petals. The fruit is a  purplish-black oval-shaped fruit olive up to 3 cm long and 2 cm wide with a single seed.

Where is it found?

Feral olive has naturalised in many parts of NSW including the  North West, Central West, North Coast, Hunter, Greater Sydney, South East, and Riverina regions. 

How does it spread?

The seeds are spread by birds and other animals that eat the fruit and spread the seeds in their droppings.


Muyt, A. (2001). Bush invaders of South-East Australia: a guide to the identification and control of environmental weeds found in South-East Australia. RG and FJ Richardson.

PlantNET (The NSW Plant Information Network System). Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney. Retrieved 8 August 2022 from https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=in&name=Olea~europaea~subsp.+europaea

More information

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Herbicide options

Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.

Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 10 mL per 1 L water
Comments: Spot spray (smaller plants less than 1 m) For general weed control in domestic areas (home gardens), commercial, industrial and public service areas, agricultural buildings and other farm situations.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: 9 (previously group M), Inhibition of 5-enolpyruvyl shikimate-3 phosphate synthase (EPSP inhibition)
Resistance risk: Moderate

Picloram 44.7 g/L + Aminopyralid 4.47 g/L (Vigilant II ®)
Rate: Undiluted
Comments: Cut stump application: Apply a 3–5 mm layer of gel for stems less than 20 mm. Apply 5 mm layer on stems above 20 mm. Stem inject application for trees: Make a series of cuts 15-20 mm deep around the trunk using an axe or saw. Space cuts evenly with no more than a 20-40 mm gap between them. Apply a 5 mm layer of gel over the lower surface of the cut.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: 4 (previously group I), Disruptors of plant cell growth (Auxin mimics)
Resistance risk: Moderate

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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All pest plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.

Reviewed 2021