Wild- Olive - Cordia boissieri
Location: On the southwest corner of the Instructional Service Center. (Map)
This plant is in the Borage Family (Boraginaceae), not in the Olive Family (Oleaceae) as the common name suggests. It is planted extensively in the lower Rio Grande Valley and north to San Antonio where it occasionally freezes back if the temperature gets as low as 20 degrees. The specimen on the Temple College campus is placed in a "micro-climate" that was chosen specifically for this tree. It is in a spot where the tree is protected from the north and the east winds and where it receives radiant heat from the brick walls in the winter. It is also slightly elevated so that cold air flows away from it during cold weather.
The Wild Olive is not well suited to the Central Texas climate, but in a protected area it can be a beautiful addition to the landscape. It is a small tree that usually grows to a height of 12 to 15 feet. This evergreen tree flowers most abundantly in late spring to early summer, but blooms can be seen any time when the weather is warm. The tissue-like white flowers have bright yellow spots in their throats. The fruit is a drupe that does resemble an olive somewhat, especially the elongated single seed. The fruit begins maturation in mid-summer and continues until fall. The taste of the fruit is said to be sweet and is eaten by wildlife and livestock, but is not recommended for people.