Black Olive Tree bucida trees
Black Olive Tree five leaf cluster
No, it isn't an olive tree, and provides no people food, but they call it a Black Olive Tree anyway; go figure.

Every time they fly through, the Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers pause to peck my black olive trees.  It was too dark to photograph the woodpecker at the trunk under the thick crown of leaves, so when I saw it fly off to visit a palm tree next door, I ran after it for a more sunny photo.

Black Olive Tree trunk with woodpecker holes
bug swarm on a Black Olive Tree
Those little leaves in front of the tree are Cassia, a butterfly host plant that happens to be growing beside my Black Olive Tree.
Yellow-bellied sapsucker
I didn't have to run after this swarm of bugs. It was on the trunk of the tree near the bottom in plain sight. They're called bark lice, or tree lice, although they aren't really lice.
It's fun to poke at them; they scamper like a school of fish in 2D, avoiding me but still sticking together. 
bug swarm on a Black Olive Tree
upside-down squirrel eating Black Olive Tree seeds
One of the redeeming qualities of Black Olive Trees is that they attract interesting creatures, like the woodpecker, green parrots, and this upside-down squirrel feasting on the seeds.
Humm... having a redeeming quality does imply that it has not-so-good qualities. Black Olive is a horribly messy tree. You can sweep the porch, but one solid breeze leaves it looking like this only minutes later.
Black Olive Tree debris
It also has these strange looking bugs, presumably larvae, but of what I've no idea yet.
green parrot eating Black Olive Tree seeds
Strange Bugs on a Black Olive Tree
My Black Olive Tree drops leaves, and these spent flower clusters, and it never seems to stop. When the mess gets wet in the rain or morning dew, it spreads out in a brown tea-like stain.
Black Olive Tree Flowers
Black Olive seems to have been a favorite when my development when in; there are a lot of them where I live. I lost other trees in the hurricanes, but none of the Black Olive trees fell. They did lose branches, and some were tangled high in the crown and darned hard to get down safely.
This May I've noticed a lot of caterpillars dangling from my Black Olive Tree; it has moths. Their little silken threads shimmer in the sunlight.
Black Olive Tree caterpillar, bungee caterpillar dangling from a silken strand glinting in the sunlight
Black Olive Tree Caterpillar
The caterpillars are called bucida caterpillars or bungee caterpillars.  I was watching a whole bunch of the little green caterpillars rappel toward the ground and enjoying the antics of a hungry grackle that was snatching them up from the sidewalk when a leaping passer-by caught my attention.  They didn't notice the bungee caterpillars until they walked into the numerous nearly invisible strands.  I think I'll coin the phrase 'cobweb dance' to describe the resultant hopping and arm waving.
Site Map:
Diving, Wading & Wetland Birds
Warblers & Little Birds
More Birds
Snakes, Lizards, and Slithery Critters
Squishy Bugs
Crunchy Bugs
More Creatures
Butterfly Nectar Plants
Butterfly & Moth Host Plants
Wetland plants
Lawn Weeds
Other Plants & Fungi
Shrub, Bush & Tree Sized Plants
Paper Folding: Origami Bird, Egg, and Nest
Paper Quilling: Snowflake Ornaments
Cut Paper Snowflakes
Butterfly Garden Basics
My Email, Image Use Information, Credits & Disclaimer
Index of everything that didn't fit on one of the other main pages
Privacy Policy