The olive tree, Olea Europaea, is a long-living and very useful tree. Olive oil is made from the fruits of this tree and can be produced even in the harshest land. It is an evergreen that gets to be around 20 to 30 feet tall.
The olive tree is a tree or shrub, depending on growth and pruning. It can be single trunk or multi-trunk. They have grayish green leaves that are 3 inches long, flowers are white and small. Flowers will bloom come spring, and the fruit is the edible olive that appears green in late summer and matures to be the black olive.
It is a hardy tree/shrub to around 15degrees F. Tree/shrub damage may occur when the temperature falls below 15 degrees F.
Olive trees need full sun, low water, and a deep soil. They have high maintenance with their fruit and flower drops, and basal suckers will need to be pruned to keep contained. They can be propagated by vegetative cuttings.
People in Crete have been using the oil of olives and cultivating the olive tree since 3500 B.C.
The olive tree is the symbol of wisdom and peace. It was an olive branch that came to Noah in the Ark. The olive tree is also a sacred tree of the goddess Athena in Greek mythology. A wreath of olive leaves is what is said to have protected Hercules in mythology.
Olives are used in salads and sandwiches, as a martini garnish, and as prime ingredient in olive oil. Olive oil is a part of a healthy diet and a source of antioxidants.
- Explore Crete
- University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension
olive tree, olives, olive oil
About this Author
T.M. Samuels has been a freelance writer since 1993. She has published works in "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living" and "Mature Years," and is the author of a gardening book. Samuels studied pre-medicine at Berry College.