New Mexican Privet, Desert Olive

Forestiera neomexicana

Family: Oleaceae (oh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Forestiera (for-es-STEER-uh) (Info)
Species: neomexicana (nee-oh-meks-ih-KAY-nuh) (Info)




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us


Grown for foliage


This plant is resistant to deer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

By simple layering

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tucson, Arizona

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Albuquerque, New Mexico (2 reports)

Socorro, New Mexico

La Grange, Texas

Kinnear, Wyoming

Laramie, Wyoming

Pavillion, Wyoming

Riverton, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 21, 2015, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

An extremely adaptable plant from the American West. It is not a true Privet, but can be used in the same ways and is a good replacement for that invasive plant. Desert Olive, (let's not insult it by calling it Privet) is extremely drought tolerant, but young plants should be irrigated for 3 years to help it establish. Although it grows in very dry conditions it can also grow in wetter soils and so is probably grow able in much of the temperate world. It can be trimmed into a hedge, shaped as a large shrub, or trained into a small tree. It has edible berries (though I've not had them). It also has great fall color and may be used as a (smaller) replacement for Aspens in areas too hot or dry for the latter.
NOTE: like Hollies, if you want fruit/berries, you will need at least one mal... read more