The mock-olives are fruiting heavily this year. I photographed this one in Rosenthal Scrub in Warwick last weekend.
It is a common plant on the Darling Downs, growing naturally on rocky ridges, where it is typically 3 or 4 metres high.
The species adapts well to all kinds of soils, and is a useful little drought and frost hardy tree for use in gardens. If pruned, it tends to sucker from the base, demonstrating that it would be happy to be made into a hedge. Left alone, it grows into a crooked little tree, often multi-trunked, and with a shady, rounded canopy. It has the capacity to be as picturesque as an old Mediterranean olive tree. Our local is related to the edible olive, but I have never heard that people eat these little fruits. They are popular with birds, however.
Its name tells its story. The second half of its generic name, “elaea” is Greek for “olive”. The first bit comes from “notos” meaning “south”. “Micro” means “small”, and “carpa” refers to its fruit.
Note the raised veins on the upper surface of the leaf, a characteristic which distinguishes it from the other Notelaea species which grow on the Downs.
(Double click on the photo for a close look.)