The Chinese Olive is native to Southeast Asia from Sumatra to New Guinea. It can grow to a height of 45 m and is often supported by large buttresses or prop-like roots. Its leaves are compound, usually comprising of 9-11 ovate leaflets. Its flowers are unisexual, with male and female flowers borne on separate terminal inflorescence. Its fleshy fruit are ovoid, measuring 3.5-5 cm long and 1.5-3 cm wide, green ripening dark purple or black in colour.
Its seeds are eaten roasted and are sometimes used as a substitute for commercially produced almonds. The soft, easily-carved wood can be used for canoes, while the buttresses are used to make paddles.
A colonnade of Chinese Olives lines the driveway which once led up to the Tyersall House, built by William Napier in 1854. It is not known when these trees were planted but they have evidently weathered the ravages of time more successfully than the estate that they formerly belonged to. With the restoration of the Keppel Discovery Wetlands in 2017, these trees and their unique stream-side habitat can now be appreciated by one and all.
This tree is dedicated to Keppel Corporation.