Chionanthus ramiflorus (Northern Olive) (Oleaceae)

Chionanthus ramiflora (Native Olive)

Also known as the Native Olive, C. ramiflorus very common rainforest tree is an enigmatic plant. When not in flower it must be one of the most nondescript of trees. It’s got opposite, elliptic to oblong leaves which can vary quite a bit in size depending on where it is growing. And that seems to be all one can determine from casual inspection. However, there is just something about it which makes it instantly recognizable even when sterile, once one gets the gist of this plant. I have not been able to describe it yet.

Chionanthus ramiflora (Native Olive)

Nevertheless, the flowers are quite distinctive. They are 4-petalled and the margins of the petals fold inward. While the scientific name suggests that this tree is ramiflorous, that is, it produces flowers from the branches, the showy panicles of flowers occur more conspicuously from the leaf axils. The fruits occur bounteously in purple sprays and are eaten by pigeons.

Chionanthus ramiflora (Native Olive)
Closeup of flowers


About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
This entry was posted in Habitat - Rain forest, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Oleaceae (Olive family) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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