Olinia Thunb.

Olinia emarginata Burtt Davy

This species is accepted, and its native range is S. Africa.


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

This species is widely distributed in northeastern to central South Africa, as well as in Lesotho and Swaziland. Although there may be threats to particular subpopulations, there are many subpopulations and therefore it is assessed as being of Least Concern (LC) under the IUCN (2001) criteria.
The species is fairly widespread from northern Swaziland through Barberton in Mpumalanga, eastern and central Limpopo Province, southward through to Gauteng, North West Province, Free State, southwestern KwaZulu-Natal, the Drakensberg, southern part of Lesotho and into the northeastern part of the Eastern Cape, Map 5. Records of its occurrence in Zimbabwe (Schmidt et al. 2002) require verification.
The species grows in mountain forests, in kloofs, in gullies, and occasionally on rocky hill slopes alt. 850 – 1800 m.
Morphology General Bark
Bark grey to cream-white, mottled, flaking off in pieces branchlets smooth, pale, quadrangular
Morphology General Habit
Medium to large tree 5 – 10 m high, evergreen
Morphology General Scales
Scales obovate, highly pubescent both surfaces, hooded and fused at bud stage, free and recurved at anthesis
Morphology Leaves
Primary or midvein prominent above Secondary or lateral veins loop once before the margin, net veining prominent on undersurface Leaves oblong to oblanceolate, 20 – 45 × 10 – 20 mm, discolorous, glossy dark green above, pale green and dull below, often with a pink tinge with a faint smell of almonds when crushed apex rounded, notched or emaginate base cuneate to slightly tapering margin entire, slightly inrolled, wavy
Morphology Leaves Petiole
Petiole short, pink to red, 2 – 4 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers pink, clustered in loose triads or cymes, faintly sweet-scented pedicel 1 – 3 mm long, slightly pubescent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens as for the genus
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals as for the genus
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 5.5 – 15 mm long, pinkish to red, glabrous, linear to oblong
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary as for the genus style glabrous to slightly pubescent, 3 – 4 mm long stigma globose
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Hypanthium
Hypanthium glabrous, 3 – 6 mm long, pink to reddish
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit ovoid, thinly fleshy, about 10 mm in diam., pink to red with white patches distinct circular scar at the apex marked by caducous hypanthium, style remnant at centre of scar.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence loose, terminal and axillary
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Bracts foliacious, green
The leaves can be confused with those of Olinia micrantha but are generally narrow and elliptic (vs broadly elliptic and slightly obovate) secondary and tertiary veins are conspicuous and prominent on the lower surface (vs inconspicuous veins on both surfaces of lamina) and apices are retuse to emarginate with a minute extension of the midvein (vs apices that are obtuse to acute with a distinct extension of the midvein). O. emarginata flowers Oct. – Jan. and sets fruit March – July. The fruits are pink to red and eaten by birds. The species is frost tolerant, but drought sensitive. Propagation from either seed or cuttings has been unsuccessful. Olinia emarginata is distinguished from O. micrantha by having narrowly elliptic leaves and bracts that are reduced to scaly appendages (compared to leathery leaves that are broadly elliptic to slightly obovate and bracts that are persistent at anthesis in O. micrantha).
Mountain hard-pear, Berghardepeer (Afrikaans), Mulondwane (Venda).

Native to:

Cape Provinces, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, Northern Provinces

Olinia emarginata Burtt Davy appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Galpin, E.E. [1275], Transvaal K000310589 Unknown type material Yes
Burke, J. [494], South Africa K000812968 No

First published in Man. Pl. Transvaal 1: 47 (1926)

Accepted by

  • Sebola, R.J. & Balkwill, K. (2013). A monographic study of the Oliniaceae Kew Bulletin 68: 419-456. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Kew Bulletin

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Kew Backbone Distributions

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    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
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