Notelaea neglecta

Family: Oleaceae

A shrub, growing to 2 m high, possibly growing into a small tree with a canopy to several metres wide.

It is endemic to New South Wales, growing in the east of the central tablelands, from Bungonia National Park, north through the southern highlands around the Hume Hwy route, into Wombeyan Caves and north to Lake Burragorang, with most northern records near Blackheath, Jenolan Caves and then Capertee Valley. 

It is generally found in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest on limestone and sandstone substrate. 

Notelaea spp. have simple and opposite leaves (a common feature of this family). In this species, leaves are variable in size and shape, to 11 cm long and to 1.5 cm wide; lanceolate to linear to narrow-elliptic with an elongated apex; mid to light green; glabrous to sometimes pubescent when young; as well as a very leathery texture; with 1 or 2 pointed axillary buds per axil.

Notelaea spp. produce small flowers in axillary racemes or short clusters; each flower is bisexual and 4-merous – with 4 sepals and petals with 2 stamens and 1 carpel; generally yellow-cream in colour cream. In this species, flowers are to 3 mm long, with petals joined in 2 pairs at the base; arranged in racemes, to 2 cm long in leaf axils, of up to 9 flowers; yellow in colour; mainly produced in spring.

The fruit of Notelaea spp. is a drupe (just like in the related exotic Olive and Privet) In this species, the fruit is fleshy, dark-blue when ripe, to 6 mm long and 5 mm wide, containing a single ovate to pointed seed, to 5 mm long. 

In the garden

Not a lot of information can be found regarding the cultivation of this species. However, it can likely be cultivated and would likely be a hardy plant. 

Check with native nurseries for availability. 

It will likely thrive on a well-drained soil, in sun to part-shade. Can be pruned to create a denser shrub with a nice form. It may also have a multi-stemmed habit with might be appealing. Tolerant of frost and hot and dry conditions. 


From cuttings as germination from fresh seed can be slow.

Other information

This plant grows in fire-prone environments and is likely able to regenerate by seed. It may also be able to reshoot from the base. 

Notelaea is a genus of plants in the olive family (hence its common name). There are about 14 species, all endemic to Australia, occurring in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. NSW currently has 9 species. 

Notelaeafrom the Greek via Latin – Notos (Νότος) – meaning “south” and –elaia (ἐλαία) – “olives” – referring to this genus as “the southern-hemisphere olive”. 

neglecta – from Latin neglectus meaning “neglected” – referring to the fact that this species was not formally recognised and published until 1968. 

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild. 

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Notelaea neglecta profile page:      https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Notelaea~neglecta 

Atlas of Living Australia – Notelaea neglecta profile page https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://id.biodiversity.org.au/node/apni/2889143 

By Dan Clarke and Jeff Howes.