Speaking of Unkillable Trees…

Posted 2012.09.19 14.41 in Pointless Blather, Work by Stephanie

A week or so ago I was walking around the area near the office, when I noticed some trees that looked surprisingly, inexplicably, like olive trees. I knew it was highly unlikely that there were wild olive trees growing near the office, so I had to find out what exactly these were.

I clipped a branch with some of the ‘olive’ fruits and brought it into work for examination.

The fruits, while looking sort of olive like at a distance, look too pale up close. And the texture was all wrong. Though, they did have a single largish pit inside. On the other hand, I’ve read that olives are inedible until they are processed, so what do I know? I’ve never seen a raw fresh-off-the-branch olive, so maybe this is what they are like.

So I did some searching, found some various tree identification forms, but nothing came up with these trees. I realized that all the stuff I was finding, was only discussing native species. Whatever this was – and especially if it was olive – it was not native.

Finally I just did a search on olive trees, and damn if the images that come up don’t look like what I’ve got here. Except…not quite.

Then I figure it out. This is a Russian Olive tree. It is not related in any way to the traditional Greek kind of olive tree. It got its name based on looks alone. (So I do know what an olive tree looks like after all!)

Russian Olive trees are an introduced / invasive species. They thrive in all kinds of conditions, and of course easily tolerate our cold winters. And like my Siberian Elm driveway tree, they are very hard to kill.

After having originally spotted just a couple of these next to the office building, I’m now noticing them all over the place around the office. There must be over a dozen along the bank of the drainage ditch by the office, and a few dozen more along the road. Another dozen around the corner between the service road and the freeway. And even more up by the railway tracks near the freeway overpass.

They’re everywhere!

I have to confess though – I’m sorely tempted to try and transplant one of them, or a cutting, or just bring some of the fruits / seeds home. I’d like a mock-olive tree in my front yard.

An unkillable mock-olive tree, that is.

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