Bermuda Olivewood, also known as the Olivewood Barks are one of the three endemic species of trees that you will see in Bermuda. The other two are Bermuda Cedar
and Bermuda Palmettos
. While there are other endemic plantations in the island, within endemic trees these are the only three and all of them have had their habitats in Bermuda right from the early settlement days.
An endemic species means it can be found only in Bermuda and nowhere else in the world. As you can see in the picture, Bermuda Olivewood grows in a round or spherical shape with dense leaves. They can grow to a height of 25-45 feet. The young leaves at the tip of the stems or branches are lighter green in color while the older leaves down below are dark green. So the young leaves as they mature, change their colors. The leaves are glossy and have a tooth like edge.
During winter and spring, flowers come out from the tip of the branches. These small flowers are yellowish green in color and bloom in clusters. They finally get converted into small fruits in autumn that look like olives and hence such a name of the tree.
These fruits are favorite food for birds and rats. In Nonsuch Island
, where there are no rats, you will often find the fruits dropping to the ground and seedlings sprouting quite rapidly giving rise to new olivewood trees. In the other places in the island the possibilities of fruits and seeds dropping to the ground is low due to birds and rats who eat them vigorously. Fortunately the olivewood trees can be easily grown by planting their seeds.
The smooth bark of the Bermuda Olivewood trees were used by the early settlers for tanning leather. Today Olivewood trees are used widely in the island in gardens and parks to beautify the areas. They are also used as hedges.
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