Species list


Olea cerasiformis


Acebuche, olivo salvaje, chaparro, aceituno (Spa).


DID YOU KNOW...? The ancient people of the Canary Islands used rods of this olive tree to make their defensive weapons, including the cudgel known as a 'tolete'.


This evergreen tree can be up to 12 m tall, although it normally measures 4-6 m. It has relatively dense foliage that can cover it completely and give it a globose appearance. The trunk reaches 60 cm in diameter and the dark grey bark becomes very cracked in older specimens. The leaves are opposite, linear-lanceolate, and leathery with an entire margin. They are dark green on the upper side, and somewhat paler or whitish on the underside. They are 5-8 cm long and 1 cm wide. This Canarian olive tree blooms during the spring. The flowers are tiny, with four whitish petals that are grouped into short clusters. The fruits are not very fleshy (drupes) and look like small olives. They are shiny and contain a single seed, or pit. They are green at first, darkening to red and becoming blackish when ripe. It is possible to confuse this tree with the olive (Olea europea). Nevertheless, Olea cerasiformis has smaller leaves and fruits, denser foliage and a wider, lower crown.


This olive tree is a characteristic component of the thermophilous forests. In this zone it can form groups, known locally as 'acebuchales', where it is the dominant species. It is also quite common in woodland comprising juniper, mastics, dragon trees, palms, etc., mainly on the northern and eastern slopes of the islands. It tends to grow on somewhat humid crags and in ravines between altitudes of 100 and 600 m.


Species endemic to the Canary Islands that grows on all the islands. It is most abundant on Gran Canaria, whereas it is very rare on Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and El Hierro.