Phillyrea latifolia var. media

Phillyrea latifolia
Phillyrea latifolia var. media
moc privet, green olive tree
SIZE/TYPE taller shrub
 small tree
LEAVES evergreen broadleaf
FLOWERS insignificant or non-blooming
LOCATION full sun
SOIL TYPE any (acidic to alkaline)
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS dry and sharply drained (xeriscape)
USDA zone (lowest) 6   (down to -23°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Evergreen broadleaf
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Mock privet is an evergreen shrub or small tree from the olive family which has been a subject of many trials in our C.E. continental climate. We have noticed that in the changing climate many plants from this family are exceptionally suited for milder parts of our country. Sufficient hardiness is an important feature, however, current lack of water in the ground and less rain make drought-tolerant plants like this one a desirable species even here.

Large-leaved mock privet is possibly the key feature of so-called macchia vegetation found in dry and hot, rocky slopes of South Europe. They cope extremely well with long-lasting drought and are usually unattacked by wild animals. This mock privet is called large-leaved just to be differed from its close relative narrow-leaved mock privet (phillyrea angustifolia) but do not expect anything like a bull bay leaf. Moreover, media is a selection, not a true variety, whose leaves are larger than those on p. angustifolia but smaller than on p. latifolia.

Media mock privet bears evergreen, opposite, 3-4 cm long, broadly elliptic, very dark green, leathery, and glossy leaves. In mid or late spring appear profusion if tiny, insignificant, creamy white flowers followed by small, blue-black, spherical fruit which recalls tiny balls of black pepper when fully mature.

Its habit is best described by one of its common names – a broccoli tree. Young plants grow fast and unevenly into upright shrubs and slow down with age as they get some three meters tall. Then they begin to form very dense, almost congested canopies with stiff, upright branches. Plants are commonly pruned in spring in order to achieve this shape sooner, or clipped to mushroom heads or ball shapes where a second trimming is required in midsummer. Use it as a beautiful small specimen tree in Mediterranean-style landscape.

Grow it in extremely well-drained, humus-rich soil in full sun or only very light shade. Acidic soil enhances the depth of green colour in leaves but is not essential. Just avoid compacted or water-logged ground where the roots may suffer. It will need even moisture after transplanting but once established stay away from watering. It is disease free and only wine weevils like it. We have tested and confirmed it hardy to USDA zone 6 so far as it has withstood short spells of -24 °C without any injury. Choose older plants for growing in zone 6 and provide good mulch for winter.

Last update 07-10-2021

Phillyrea latifolia
Phillyrea latifolia
Phillyrea angustifolia
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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