Oleaceae (Olive or Ash Family)
A small family of trees and shrubs.
Forestiera neomexicanaGray. Desert Olive, Adelia. (Plate 6.124) A stiffly erect, deciduous shrub, 4–12 ft (1.3–4 m) high. Leaves obovate to elliptic, narrowing at the base to a slender petiole, 1–2 in (2.5–5 cm) long in all. They are opposite, sometimes with additional ones on short spurs. Flowers are relatively inconspicuous and are clustered tightly against the branches. Pistillate and staminate parts are in separate flowers, commonly on different plants. The fruit is far more showy than the blooms. When mature, the clusters of 3/8 in (1 cm)-long blue-black "olives" are very attractive but unpalatable. Flower: White or yellowish.
Distribution. Uncommon at springs; Inyo Mountains; Desert Scrub, below 6,500 ft (1,982 m).
Menodora spinescensGray. Spiny Menodora. (Plate 6.125) An extremely spiny shrub, 1–3 ft (0.3–1 m) high, with gray or yellowish green branches and commonly sparse foliage. Leaves are alternate, narrowly linear-oblong, up to 1/2 in (13 mm) long. Flowers are funnel-shaped, 1/8–1/4 in (3–6 cm) long, with five relatively long lobes. The fruit, shining and tinged with the same colors as the flowers, resembles twin berries but is actually a capsule parted almost to the base and covered with a thin membrane. The parts are roundish, about 1/4 in (6 mm) in diameter. Flower: White, tinged with purple or brown.
Distribution. Common; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,000–7,700 ft (1,220–2,348 m).