Olea europea

Feral olive

Family: Oleaceae

Origin: Africa, Eurasia

Close up of olives hanging on the branches of feral olive.
Feral olive fruits are oval and glossy. They ripen from green to black.
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Not a legally declared pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Evergreen tree or shrub < 15 m tall. Stems are erect and multi-branched. Leaves are opposite, narrow, dark green on top and silvery underneath. Flowers are small, white and borne in clusters in July – March. Fruit is a fleshy green drupe that ripens to black and contains one seed.

What you need to know

Although feral olive is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.


Open areas, riparian margins, cliffs, sand dunes, forest gaps and margins, roadsides.


Seeds dispersed by birds and other animals. Vegetative spread from suckering. Human-mediated dispersal through cultivation.

Impact on environment

Potential to outcompete native vegetation and suppress seedling recruitment. Increases fire risk.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel.

Basic Growsafe certified: Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Close up of a branch of feral olive.
The leaves are lance-shaped and are arranged in opposite pairs on the stem.
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr
Close up of feral olive sprouting.
The seeds can be dispersed by birds.
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr
Close up of olives from the feral olive tree.
Feral olive produces many long-lived, easily dispersed seeds.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow