Olive Tree – Olea europaea
Olive tree, Olea europaea, is a species of a small, 8-10 meters, evergreen fruit bearing tree, native to the coastal areas of the Eastern Mediterranean Basin that seldom passes 15 meters in height. The fruit, also called olive, is of major agricultural importance as the source of olive oil, a great source of good fats.
The Olive Tree is very hardy, drought, disease and fire-resistant, and can live for a very long time. Many olive trees in the orchards around the Mediterranean are said to be many centuries old, and in some cases this has been proved scientifically.
Olive oil has long been regarded divine; it was used to anoint kings and athletes in ancient Greece and the tree over time has been the symbolic representation of peace, wisdom, glory, fertility, power and purity. Today extensive research supports the health-giving benefits of consuming olives, olive leaf (medicinally) and olive oil.
Olea europaea leaves are silvery green, oblong in shape, measuring 4-10cm long and 1-3cm wide. The trunk is usually knobbly and twisted. Flowers are small white borne normally on the last year’s wood, in racemes taking shape from the axils of the leaves.
Olive Tree Fruit
The fruit from the Olive tree is a small drupe 1-2.5cm long, thinner-fleshed and smaller in wild plants than those in cultivation. Olives are harvested in the green to purple unripe stage. Canned black olives usually contain ferrous sulfate that turns them black unnaturally. Olives are a by nature bitter fruit and subjected to fermentation or aged process with sodium or potassium hydroxide or brine to make them eatable.
Olive Tree Propagation Methods
Tree propagation, preferred method, is by either cuttings or layers since trees grown from suckers or seeds must be budded or grafted onto other specimens to do well. Olea europaea shows a pronounced preference for chalky soils, prospering best on limestone sides and steep rugged rocks or cliffs with coastal climate conditions. When grown in rich soils they are susceptible to disease and produce poorer oil than in poorer soil.
Olive Trees like hot weather condition, and temperatures below ?10 °C may hurt even a mature tree. They stand drought well, thanks to their extended root system. They can live exceptionally long, up to several centuries, and can stay productive for as long, if they are cut back correctly and on a regular basis. Olea europaea is a member of the family Oleaceae the genus Olea.
Olive tree, Olea europaea
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