O. lancea, is a shrub that can grow up to 6 meters tall, from the family Oleaceae that includes another native tree Olea europaea var. cuspidate, the black olive tree. Its bark is rough and varies from white to gray. The surface of the leaves is bright green and dark, but pale green below. Oval and very narrow, they are bent at the ends. The shrub has small unisexual or bisexual flowers with 4 white petals that are clustered at the tip of the stem or at the base of the upper leaves. Its fruits are small green drupes that turn black when ripe.
O. lancea is native to the Mascarene Islands and Madagascar. It can be found in the intermediate, mountain and upland forests of Mauritius. It usually grows under forest canopy and in exposed windy sites.
O. lancea is listed as species of ‘Least Concern’ under the IUCN Red List due to the high density of the population size. The seeds germinate easily, and many seedlings can be found under the foot of the tree. It is propagated on a large scale in nurseries for forest restoration and landscape projects.
The bark of Olea lancea is used in decoctions and can relieve respiratory and skin infections. The infusion of its leaves serves as an emmenagogue and aphrodisiac.
The shape of its branches resemble deer horns, hence its vernacular name Deer Wood.