Olinia Thunb.

Olinia capensis (Jacq.) Klotzsch

This species is accepted, and its native range is SW. & S. Cape Prov.


Sebola, R.J. & Balkwill, K. 2013. A monographic study of the Oliniaceae. Kew Bulletin 68: 419.

This species is endemic to the southern Western Cape and the Eastern Cape, South Africa and is abundant where it occurs. It occurs in many nature reserves where there is limited habitat destruction and/or population fragmentation. It is therefore assessed as of Least Concern (LC) under the IUCN Red Data status.
The species is known to occur in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Occurs in forests, forest margins, coastal scrub and on rocky hillsides alt. 1000 – 1500 m.
Morphology General Bark
Bark pale to grey, smooth branchlets pinkish
Morphology General Habit
A medium to large tree up to 5 m high
Morphology General Scales
Scales creamy white, hooded, enclosing stamens, alternating with petal lobes, up to 1 mm long, densely pubescent on both surfaces
Morphology Leaves
Secondary or tertiary veins inconspicuous above, looping once before margin, net-veining conspicuous below Leaves obovate to oblanceolate, 31 – 70 × 20 – 30 mm, glossy and dark green above, paler and dull below apex tapering to rounded, sometimes notched base tapering margin entire, wavy, slightly rolled under Primary veins or midvein impressed or channelled above, prominent below
Morphology Leaves Petiole
Petiole 4 – 6 mm long, pink, velvety
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers very small, whitish sometimes tinged with pink, nine tightly clustered together per inflorescence, on very short stalks, in dense axillary cymes 50 – 60 mm long, sweetly scented
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens as for the genus
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals tooth-like or rudimentary
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals creamy-white, elliptic, (1.2 –) 1.5 – 1.9 (− 2) × (0.3 –) 0.4 – 0.8 (− 1) mm, inserted at throat of hypanthium, pubescent on lower surface at point of attachment base sessile apex rounded margin entire
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary 5-locular style glabrous, 0.5 – 1 mm long stigma globular to capitate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Hypanthium
Hypanthium white to pink, glabrous, (1.5 –) 1.6 – 1.9 (− 2) mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Pedicel
Pedicel glabrous, 0.5 – 1 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a spherical drupe 6 – 9 mm in diam., thinly fleshy, and red circular scar at apex visible, 4 – 6 mm in diam.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences axillary, highly compact and dense
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Bracts creamy-white, linear, up to 8 mm long, persistent after anthesis or after flowers have opened
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Peduncles
Peduncle short, pubescent
This species closely resembles Olinia ventosa but differs in having bracts that are persistent through anthesis, axes of inflorescence units that are reduced so that there are nine flowers of three sets clustered at the tips of identifiable axes, and the hypanthium length being 2 mm or shorter (vs bracts that are caducous at anthesis, axes of identifiable units not reduced such that there are three flowers at the tips of each identifiable axis, and the hypanthium longer than 3.5 mm in O. ventosa). On the basis of floral features Olinia capensis is often confused with O. mircantha by both having persistent bracts, but O. capensis can be readily distinguished by having larger leaves of 36 – 71 mm long (vs 23 – 37 mm long for O. micrantha). The species is reported to normally flower in profusion every three years, but if the flowers become infested and galled, the cycle is interrupted, and flowering will only occur in the next two years.
Hard pear, Hardepeer (Afrikaans).

The wood is used for charcoal and was used during wagon making (Sim 1907).

Native to:

Cape Provinces

Olinia capensis (Jacq.) Klotzsch appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Oct 1, 1996 Burchell [5246], South Africa K000812961 No
Jan 1, 1996 Drege [s.n.], South Africa K000812971 No
Drege [s.n.], South Africa K000812972 No
s.coll. [s.n.], South Africa Olinia acuminata K001089505 Yes
s.coll. [s.n.], South Africa Olinia acuminata K001089504 Unknown type material Yes

First published in Allg. Gartenzeitung 4: 27 (1836)

Accepted by

  • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14: 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • Sebola, R.J. & Balkwill, K. (2013). A monographic study of the Oliniaceae. Kew Bulletin 68: 419-456. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


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