USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53705-2398
(608) 231-9200


Wood Technical Fact Sheet


 Olea hochstetteri

East African Olive

Family: Oleaceae

Other Common Names: Olmasi, Ngwe (Tanzania), Musharagi (Kenya).

Distribution: Montane rain forests at elevations of 6,000 to 9,000 ft; common in Kenya and parts of Zaire but less frequent in Uganda and Tanzania.

The Tree: May reach a height of 80 to 100 ft, but is often smaller; bole rarely straight, heavily fluted, about 15 to 30 ft in length; trunk diameters 2 to 3 ft.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood pale brown with irregular dark gray-brown streaks; sapwood up to 2 in. wide, pale yellow, clearly demarcated. Texture fine and even; grain straight or shallowly interlocked, figured; surface slightly oily.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.72; air-dry density 55 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (2-cm standard)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)

Green (9) 15,300 1,980 7,080

12% 25,300 2,530 12,200

Janka side hardness 1,840 lb for green and 2,740 lb for dry material.

Drying and Shrinkage: Timber dries very slowly with a strong tendency to check and warp; honeycomb may develop in thick material if dried too rapidly. Kiln schedule T6-D2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T3-D1 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to 12% moisture content: radial 4.0%; tangential 6.5%. Movement in service is rated as large.

Working Properties: Easy to saw when green, difficult to work by hand, a smooth clean finish is obtained in planing, excellent turning properties, moderate steam-bending properties.

Durability: Heartwood has low to moderate durability, susceptible to termite attack.

Preservation: Heartwood moderately resistant to preservative treatments; sapwood permeable.

Uses: Furniture, decorative veneer, turnery, decorative flooring, tool handles.

Additional Reading: (3), (6), (9)