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The olive, botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning "European olive", is a
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
of small
tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only wood plants with se ...

tree
in the
family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same Politic ...
Oleaceae Oleaceae, also known as the olive family, is a Taxonomy (biology), taxonomic family (biology), family of flowering plant, flowering shrubs, trees, and a few lianas in the Order (biology), order Lamiales, It presently comprises 28 genera, one of wh ...
, found traditionally in the
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
. The species is cultivated in all the countries of the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, North and South America and South Africa. ''Olea europaea'' is the
type species In zoological nomenclature The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted Convention (norm), convention in zoology that rules the formal scientific name, scientific naming of organisms treated as animals. It is al ...
for the genus ''Olea''. The olive's fruit, also called an "olive", is of major
agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching tele ...

agricultural
importance in the Mediterranean region as the source of
olive oil Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olive The olive, known by the botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning "European olive", is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and ...

olive oil
; it is one of the core ingredients in
Mediterranean cuisine Mediterranean cuisine is the food and methods of preparation used by the people of the Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands ...

Mediterranean cuisine
. The tree and its fruit give their name to the plant family, which also includes species such as
lilac ''Syringa vulgaris'', the lilac or common lilac, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often d ...

lilac
s,
jasmine Jasmine ( taxonomic name ''Jasminum'' ) is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circu ...

jasmine
, ''
Forsythia ''Forsythia'' , is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer ...

Forsythia
'', and the true ash trees (''
Fraxinus ''Fraxinus'' , English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become th ...
'').


Etymology

The word ''olive'' derives from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
' ("olive fruit", "olive tree"), possibly through
Etruscan__NOTOC__ Etruscan may refer to: Ancient civilisation *The Etruscan language, an extinct language in ancient Italy *Something derived from or related to the Etruscan civilization **Etruscan architecture **Etruscan art **Etruscan cities **Etruscan ...
𐌀𐌅𐌉𐌄𐌋𐌄 (''eleiva'') from the archaic
Proto-Greek The Proto-Greek language (also known as Proto-Hellenic) is the Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with t ...
form *ἐλαίϝα (*''elaíwa'') (
Classic Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
', "olive fruit", "olive tree"). The word ''oil'' originally meant "olive oil", from ', (', "olive oil"). Also in multiple other languages the word for "oil" ultimately derives from the name of this tree and its fruit. The oldest attested forms of the Greek words are the Mycenaean , ', and , ' or , ', written in the
Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or ...
syllabic script.


Description

The olive tree, ''Olea europaea'', is an
evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Anc ...

evergreen
tree or
shrub A shrub (often called a bush) is a small- to medium-sized perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the p ...

shrub
native to Mediterranean Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is short and squat, and rarely exceeds in height. 'Pisciottana', a unique variety comprising 40,000 trees found only in the area around
Pisciotta Pisciotta is an Italy, Italian town and ''comune'' of the province of Salerno, in the region of Campania. History According to legend, Troy, Trojans escaping from the fire and the destruction of their city, Troy, founded Siris, Magna Graecia, Sir ...

Pisciotta
in the
Campania it, Campano (man) it, Campana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 ...
region of southern Italy, often exceeds this, with correspondingly large trunk diameters. The silvery green
leaves A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves, stem, flower and fruit together form the shoot system. Leaves are ...

leaves
are oblong, measuring long and wide. The trunk is typically gnarled and twisted. The small, white, feathery
flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom Image:Cerisier du Japon Prunus serrulata.jpg, Cherry blossoms in Paris in full bloom. In botany, blossoms are the flowers of stone fruit fruit tree, trees (genus ''Prunus'') and of some other plan ...

flower
s, with ten-cleft calyx and
corolla Corolla may refer to: *Corolla (botany) upright=1.4, Diagram showing the parts of a mature flower. In this example the perianth is separated into a calyx (sepals) and corolla (petals) The perianth (perigonium, perigon or perigone in monocots) is ...

corolla
, two
stamen The stamen (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full ve ...
s, and bifid
stigma Stigma or plural stigmata, stigmas may refer to: * Social stigma, the disapproval of a person based on physical or behavioral characteristics that distinguish them from others Symbolism * Stigmata, bodily marks or wounds resembling the crucifix ...
, are borne generally on the previous year's wood, in
raceme A raceme ( or ) or racemoid is an unbranched, indeterminate growth, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing ''pedicellate'' flowers (flowers having short floral stalks called Pedicel (botany), pedicels) along its axis. In botany, an ''axis'' ...

raceme
s springing from the
axil A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves and stem together form the shoot. Leaves are collectively referred ...
s of the leaves. The
fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the ...

fruit
is a small
drupe ), showing both fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which angiosperms disseminate seeds. Edible fruits, in ...
long when ripe, thinner-fleshed and smaller in wild plants than in
orchard An orchard is an intentional plantation of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree ...

orchard
cultivars. Olives are harvested in the green to purple stage. Canned black olives have often been artificially blackened (see below on processing) and may contain the chemical
ferrous gluconate
ferrous gluconate
to improve the appearance. ''Olea europaea'' contains a
pyrena A pyrena or pyrene (commonly called a "pit" or "stone") is the fruitstone within a drupe ), showing both fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after ...
commonly referred to in American English as a "pit", and in British English as a "stone".


Taxonomy

The six natural subspecies of ''Olea europaea'' are distributed over a wide range: *''Olea europaea'' subsp. ''europaea'' (Mediterranean Basin) *:''Olea europaea'' var. ''sylvestris'', considered the "wild" olive of the Mediterranean, is a
variety Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equations in universal algebra Hort ...
characterized by a smaller tree bearing noticeably smaller fruit. * ''O. e.'' subsp. ''cuspidata'' (from South Africa throughout East Africa,
Arabia The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...
to
Southwest China Southwest China () is a region in the south of the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth' ...

Southwest China
) *''O. e. ''subsp. ''cerasiformis'' (
Madeira Madeira ( , , ), officially the Autonomous Region of Madeira ( pt, Região Autónoma da Madeira), is one of the two autonomous Regions of Portugal, autonomous regions of Portugal, the other being the Azores. It is an archipelago situated in t ...

Madeira
); also known as ''Olea maderensis'' *''O. e. ''subsp. ''guanchica'' (Canary Islands) *''O. e. ''subsp. ''laperrinei'' (Algeria, Sudan, Niger) *''O. e. ''subsp. ''maroccana'' (Morocco) The subspecies ''O. e. cerasiformis'' is
tetraploid Polyploidy is a condition in which the cells of an organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecul ...
, and ''O. e. maroccana'' is
hexaploid Polyploidy is a condition in which the biological cell, cells of an organism have more than two paired (Homologous chromosome, homologous) sets of chromosomes. Most species whose cells have Cell nucleus, nuclei (eukaryotes) are diploid, meaning ...
. Wild-growing forms of the olive are sometimes treated as the species ''
Olea oleaster ''Olea oleaster'', the wild-olive, has been considered by various ...
''. The trees referred to as "
white White is the lightest color and is achromatic (having no hue). It is the color of snow, chalk, and milk, and is the opposite of black. White objects fully diffuse reflection, reflect and scattering, scatter all the visible spectrum, visible wa ...
" and "
black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete absorption Absorption may refer to: Chemistry and biology *Absorption (chemistry), diffusion of particles of gas or liquid into liquid or solid materials *Absorption (skin), a rout ...
" olives in Southeast Asia are not actually olives, but species of ''
Canarium ''Canarium'' is a genus of about 100 species of tropical and subtropical trees, in the family Burseraceae. They grow naturally across tropical Africa, south and southeast Asia, Indochina, Malesia, Australia and western Pacific Islands; including ...
''.


Cultivars

Hundreds of
cultivar A cultivar is a type of plant that people have bred for desired traits, which are reproduced in each new generation by a method such as grafting, tissue culture or carefully controlled seed production. Most cultivars arise from purposeful human ...
s of the olive tree are known. An olive's cultivar has a significant impact on its color, size, shape, and growth characteristics, as well as the qualities of olive oil. Olive cultivars may be used primarily for oil, eating, or both. Olives cultivated for consumption are generally referred to as "table olives". Since many olive cultivars are
self-sterileSelf-incompatibility (SI) is a general name for several genetic mechanisms in angiosperms The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of land plants, with 64 orders, 416 families, approxi ...
or nearly so, they are generally planted in pairs with a single primary cultivar and a secondary cultivar selected for its ability to fertilize the primary one. In recent times, efforts have been directed at producing hybrid cultivars with qualities useful to farmers, such as resistance to disease, quick growth, and larger or more consistent crops.


History


Prehistory

Fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, inc ...

Fossil
evidence indicates the olive tree had its origins 20–40 million years ago in the
Oligocene The Oligocene ( ) is a geologic epoch (geology), epoch of the Paleogene Geologic time scale, Period and extends from about 33.9 million to 23 million years before the present ( to ). As with other older geologic periods, the rock beds that define ...
, in what is now corresponding to Italy and the eastern
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
. Wild oleasters were present and collected in the
East Mediterranean Eastern Mediterranean is a loose definition of the eastern approximate half, or third, of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely encl ...
since ~19,000 BP. The
genome In the fields of molecular biology Molecular biology is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, M ...

genome
of cultivated olives reflects their origin from oleaster populations in the
East Mediterranean Eastern Mediterranean is a loose definition of the eastern approximate half, or third, of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely encl ...
. The olive plant was first cultivated some 7,000 years ago in Mediterranean regions. The edible olive seems to have coexisted with humans for about 5,000 to 6,000 years, going back to the early
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
(3150 to 1200 BC). Its origin can be traced to the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
based on written tablets, olive pits, and wood fragments found in ancient tombs. The immediate ancestry of the cultivated olive is unknown. Fossil ''
Olea ''Olea'' ( ) is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including thei ...
'' pollen has been found in
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
and other places around the Mediterranean, indicating that this genus is an original element of the Mediterranean flora.
Fossilized A fossil (from Classical Latin: , literally 'obtained by digging') is any preserved remains, impression, or trace of any once-living thing from a past geological age. Examples include bones, Seashell, shells, exoskeletons, stone imprints of ...

Fossilized
leaves of ''Olea'' were found in the of the volcanic Greek island of
Santorini Santorini ( el, Σαντορίνη, ), officially Thira (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in S ...

Santorini
(
Thera Santorini ( el, Σαντορίνη, ), officially Thira (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in S ...

Thera
) and were dated about 37,000 BP. Imprints of larvae of olive whitefly ''Aleurolobus (Aleurodes) olivinus'' were found on the leaves. The same insect is commonly found today on olive leaves, showing that the plant-animal co-evolutionary relations have not changed since that time. Other leaves found on the same island are dated back to 60,000 BP, making them the oldest known olives from the Mediterranean. As far back as 3000 BC, olives were grown commercially in
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology ...

Crete
; they may have been the source of the wealth of the
Minoan civilization The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the s ...
.


Outside the Mediterranean

Olives are not native to the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...

Americas
. Spanish colonists brought the olive to the New World, where its cultivation prospered in present-day Peru, Chile, and Argentina. The first seedlings from Spain were planted in
Lima Lima ( ; ) is the capital and the largest city of Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_t ...

Lima
by Antonio de Rivera in 1560. Olive tree cultivation quickly spread along the valleys of South America's dry Pacific coast where the climate was similar to the Mediterranean. Spanish missionaries established the tree in the 18th century in
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
. It was first cultivated at
Mission San Diego de Alcalá Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá ( es, Misión San Diego de Alcalá) was the first Franciscan The Franciscans are a group of related Mendicant orders, mendicant Christianity, Christian Catholic religious order, religious orders, primari ...
in 1769 or later around 1795. Orchards were started at other missions, but in 1838, an inspection found only two olive orchards in California. Cultivation for oil gradually became a highly successful commercial venture from the 1860s onward. In Japan, the first successful planting of olive trees happened in 1908 on Shodo Island, which became the cradle of olive cultivation in Japan. An estimated 865 million olive trees were in the world as of 2005, and the vast majority of these were found in Mediterranean countries, with traditionally marginal areas accounting for no more than 25% of olive-planted area and 10% of oil production.


Symbolic connotations

Olive oil has long been considered sacred and holy. The
olive branch The olive branch is a peace symbols, symbol of peace and victory associated with customs of ancient Greece and connected with supplication to gods and persons in power. It is found in most cultures of the Mediterranean basin and became associated ...

olive branch
has often been a symbol of abundance, glory, and peace. The leafy branches of the olive tree were ritually offered to deities and powerful figures as emblems of benediction and purification, and they were used to crown the victors of friendly games and bloody wars. Today, olive oil is still used in many religious ceremonies. Over the years, the olive has also been used to symbolize wisdom, fertility, power, and purity.


Judaism and Christianity

Olives were one of the main elements in ancient Israelite cuisine. Olive oil was used for not only food and cooking, but also lighting, sacrificial offerings,
ointment A topical medication is a medication A medication (also referred to as medicine, pharmaceutical drug, medicinal drug or simply drug) is a drug used to medical diagnosis, diagnose, cure, therapy, treat, or preventive medicine, prevent disea ...

ointment
, and
anointment Anointing is the ritual, ritual act of pouring aromatic oil over a person's head or entire body. By extension, the term is also applied to related acts of sprinkling, dousing, or smearing a person or object with any perfumed oil, milk, butter, o ...

anointment
for priestly or royal office.Macdonald, Nathan (2008). '' What Did the Ancient Israelites Eat?''. William B. Eerdmans. pp. 23–24. . The olive tree is one of the first plants mentioned in the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a f ...

Hebrew Bible
(the Christian
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, a collection of ancient religious Hebrew writings by the Israelites. The ...
), and one of the most significant. An olive branch (or leaf, depending on translation) was brought back to
Noah In the traditions of Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of t ...

Noah
by a dove to demonstrate that the flood was over (
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In beginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament, is an account of the Genesis creation narrative, creation of the world, the early history of humanity, Israel' ...

Book of Genesis
, 8:11). The olive is listed in
Deuteronomy The Book of Deuteronomy (literally "second law" from Greek ''deuteros'' + ''nomos'') is the fifth book of the Jewish , where it is called ''Devarim'' ( he, דְּבָרִים), "the words f Moses F, or f, is the sixth Letter (alphabet), let ...
8:8 as one of the
seven species The Seven Species ( he, שבעת המינים, ''Shiv'at HaMinim'') are seven agricultural products - two grains and five fruits - which are listed in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonic ...
that are noteworthy products of the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
. According to the
Halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific ...
, the Jewish law mandatory for all
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
, the olive is one of the seven species that require the recitation of ''me'eyn shalosh'' after they are consumed. Olive oil is also the most recommended and best possible oil for the lighting of the
candles A candle is an ignitable candle wick, wick embedded in wax, or another flammable solid substance such as tallow, that provides light, and in some cases, a Aroma compound, fragrance. A candle can also provide heat or a method of keeping time. ...

candles
. The
Mount of Olives The Mount of Olives or Mount Olivet ( he, הַר הַזֵּיתִים, Har ha-Zeitim, ar, جبل الزيتون, Jabal al-Zaytun, both lit. 'Mount of Olives'; in Arabic also الطور, ''At-Tur'', 'the Mountain') is a mountain ridge east of and ...

Mount of Olives
, east of
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
, is mentioned several times in the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
. The Allegory of the Olive Tree in St. Paul's
Epistle to the Romans The Epistle to the Romans or Letter to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by Paul the Apostle to explain that Salvation (Christianity), salvation is offered ...
refers to the scattering and gathering of Israel. It compares the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
to a tame olive tree and the Gentiles to a wild olive branch. The olive tree itself, as well as olive oil and olives, play an important role in the Bible.


Ancient Greece

Olives are thought to have been domesticated in the third millennium BC at the latest, at which point they, along with grain and grapes, became part of
Colin Renfrew Andrew Colin Renfrew, Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, FBAFBA may refer to: * Federation of British Artists * Federal Bar Association * Fellow of the British Academy * Filsports Basketball Association * First Baptist Academy (Houston, Texas), Unite ...
's triad of Greek staple crops that fueled the emergence of more complex societies. Olives, and especially (perfumed) olive oil, became a major export product during the
Minoan The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands, flourishing from c. 3000 BC to c. 1450 BC and, after a late period of decline, finally ending around 1100 BC, during the early Greek Da ...
and
Mycenae Mycenae ( ; grc, Μυκῆναι or , ''Mykē̂nai'' or ''Mykḗnē'') is an archaeological site near Mykines, Greece, Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece. It is located about south-west of Athens; north of Argos, Peloponne ...

Mycenae
an periods. Dutch archaeologist Jorrit Kelder proposed that the Mycenaeans sent shipments of olive oil, probably alongside live olive branches, to the court of the Egyptian pharaoh
Akhenaten Akhenaten (pronounced ), also spelled Echnaton, Akhenaton, Ikhnaton, and Khuenaten ( egy, wikt:ꜣḫ-n-jtn, ꜣḫ-n-jtn, meaning "Effective for the Aten"), was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh reigning or 1351–1334 BC, the tenth ruler of the Ei ...

Akhenaten
as a diplomatic gift. In Egypt, these imported olive branches may have acquired ritual meanings, as they are depicted as offerings on the wall of the
Aten Aten also Aton, Atonu, or Itn ( egy, jtn, ''reconstructed'' ) was the focus of Atenism, the religious system established in ancient Egypt by the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh Akhenaten. The Aten was the disc of the sun ...

Aten
temple and were used in wreaths for the burial of
Tutankhamen Tutankhamun (, egy, twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn), Egyptological pronunciation Tutankhamen () ( 1342c. 1325 BC), commonly referred to as King Tut, was an ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient ...
. It is likely that, as well as being used for culinary purposes, olive oil was also used to various other ends, including as a perfume. The
ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era was ...
smeared olive oil on their bodies and hair as a matter of grooming and good health. Olive oil was used to anoint kings and athletes in ancient Greece. It was burnt in the sacred lamps of temples and was the "eternal flame" of the original Olympic games. Victors in these games were crowned with its leaves. In Homer's ''
Odyssey The ''Odyssey'' (; grc, Ὀδύσσεια, Odýsseia, ) is one of two major ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí ...
'',
Odysseus Odysseus ( ; grc-gre, Ὀδυσσεύς, Ὀδυσεύς, OdysseúsOdyseús, ), also known by the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken ...

Odysseus
crawls beneath two shoots of olive that grow from a single stock, and in the ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an in , traditionally attributed to . Usually considered to have been written down circa the 8th century BC, the ''Iliad'' i ...

Iliad
'', (XVII.53ff) there is a metaphoric description of a lone olive tree in the mountains, by a spring; the Greeks observed that the olive rarely thrives at a distance from the sea, which in Greece invariably means up mountain slopes. Greek myth attributed to the primordial culture-hero
Aristaeus A minor god in Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmolog ...
the understanding of olive husbandry, along with cheese-making and bee-keeping. Olive was one of the woods used to fashion the most primitive Greek
cult figure ''Cult Following'' is the second studio album by American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), comm ...
s, called '''', referring to their wooden material; they were reverently preserved for centuries. It was purely a matter of local pride that the Athenians claimed that the olive grew first in Athens. In an archaic Athenian
foundation myth Foundation may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Games * ''Foundation'', an Amiga video game * ''Foundation'', a 2019 simulation video game by Polymorph Games Literature * Foundation (b-boy book), ''Foundation'' (b-boy book), by Joseph ...
,
Athena Athena or Athene, often given the epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phrase), accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied ...

Athena
won the patronage of
Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital city, capital of Greece and its countryside. It is a peninsula projecting into the ...

Attica
from
Poseidon Poseidon (; grc-gre, Ποσειδῶν, ) was one of the Twelve Olympians upright=1.8, Fragment of a relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The t ...

Poseidon
with the gift of the olive. According to the fourth-century BC father of botany,
Theophrastus Theophrastus (; grc-gre, Θεόφραστος ; c. 371c. 287 BC), a Greek native of Eresos Eresos (; el, Ερεσός; grc, Ἔρεσος) and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Le ...

Theophrastus
, olive trees ordinarily attained an age around 200 years, he mentions that the very olive tree of Athena still grew on the
Acropolis An acropolis (Ancient Greek: ἀκρόπολις, ''akropolis''; from ''akros'' (άκρος) or ''akron'' (άκρον), "highest, topmost, outermost" and ''polis'' (πόλις), "city"; plural in English: ''acropoles'', ''acropoleis'' or ''acropol ...

Acropolis
; it was still to be seen there in the second century AD; and when
PausaniasPausanias (; Greek language, Greek: Παυσανίας) is the name of several people: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias (general), Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pa ...
was shown it, c. 170 AD, he reported "Legend also says that when the Persians fired Athens the olive was burnt down, but on the very day it was burnt it grew again to the height of two
cubit The cubit was an ancient unit Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT, a fictional military organization in the science fiction television series ''Doctor Who'' * Unit of action, a discrete piece of action (or beat) in a theatrical ...
s." Indeed, olive suckers sprout readily from the stump, and the great age of some existing olive trees shows that it was perfectly possible that the olive tree of the Acropolis dated to the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
. The olive was sacred to Athena and appeared on the Athenian coinage. Theophrastus, in ''On the Causes of Plants'', does not give as systematic and detailed an account of olive husbandry as he does of the
vine A vine (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...

vine
, but he makes clear (in 1.16.10) that the cultivated olive must be vegetatively propagated; indeed, the pits give rise to thorny, wild-type olives, spread far and wide by birds. Theophrastus reports how the bearing olive can be grafted on the wild olive, for which the Greeks had a separate name, ''kotinos''. In his ''
Enquiry into Plants Theophrastus's ''Enquiry into Plants'' or ''Historia Plantarum'' ( grc-gre, Περὶ φυτῶν ἱστορία, ''Peri phyton historia'') was, along with his mentor Aristotle's ''History of Animals'', Pliny the Elder's ''Natural History (Pliny) ...
'' (2.1.2–4) he states that the olive can be propagated from a piece of the trunk, the root, a twig, or a stake.


Ancient Rome

According to Pliny the Elder, a vine, a fig tree, and an olive tree grew in the middle of the Roman Forum; the olive was planted to provide shade (the garden plot was recreated in the 20th century). The Roman poet Horace mentions it in reference to his own diet, which he describes as very simple: "As for me, olives, endives, and smooth Althaea (plant), mallows provide sustenance." Lord Monboddo comments on the olive in 1779 as one of the foods preferred by the ancients and as one of the most perfect foods. Vitruvius describes of the use of charred olive wood in tying together walls and foundations in his ''wikiquote:Vitruvius#De architectura (The Ten Books On Architecture) (~ 15BC), De Architectura'':
The thickness of the wall should, in my opinion, be such that armed men meeting on top of it may pass one another without interference. In the thickness there should be set a very close succession of ties made of charred olive wood, binding the two faces of the wall together like pins, to give it lasting endurance. For that is a material which neither decay, nor the weather, nor time can harm, but even though buried in the earth or set in the water it keeps sound and useful forever. And so not only city walls but substructures in general and all walls that require a thickness like that of a city wall, will be long in falling to decay if tied in this manner.


Islam

The olive tree and olive oil are mentioned seven times in the Quran, and the olive is praised as a precious fruit. Olive tree and olive oil health benefits have been propounded in Prophetic medicine. Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said: "Take oil of olive and massage with it – it is a blessed tree" (Sunan al-Darimi, 69:103). Olives are substitutes for dates (if not available) during Ramadan fasting, and olive tree leaves are used as incense in some History of the Mediterranean region, Muslim Mediterranean countries.


United States

Since the Great Seal of the United States was finalized and approved on 20 June 1782, the eagle in the seal is depicted clutching an olive branch in one of its talons, indicating the power of peace.


Oldest known trees

Olive trees in the groves around the Mediterranean Sea are centuries old, with some dated up to 3500 years. The olive tree of Mouriscas, Abrantes, Portugal, (''Oliveira do Mouchão'') is one of the oldest known olive trees still alive to this day, with an estimated age of 3,350 years, planted approximately at the beginning of the Atlantic Bronze Age. An olive tree on the island of Brijuni (Brioni), Istria in Croatia, has a radiocarbon dating age of about 1,600 years. It still gives fruit (about per year), which is made into olive oil. An olive tree in west Athens, named "Plato's Olive Tree", is thought to be a remnant of the grove where Platonic Academy, Plato's Academy was situated, making it an estimated 2,400 years old. The tree comprised a cavernous trunk from which a few branches were still sprouting in 1975, when a traffic accident caused a bus to uproot it. Following that, the trunk was preserved and displayed in the nearby Agricultural University of Athens. In 2013, it was reported that the remaining part of the trunk was uprooted and stolen, allegedly to serve as firewood. A supposedly older tree, the "Peisistratos Tree", is located by the banks of the Cephissus (Athenian plain), Cephisus River, in the municipality of Agioi Anargyroi, and is said to be a remnant of an olive grove that was planted by Athenian tyrant Peisistratos in the sixth century BC. Numerous ancient olive trees also exist near Pelion in Greece. The age of an olive tree in Crete, the Finix Olive, is claimed to be over 2,000 years old; this estimate is based on archaeological evidence around the tree. The olive tree of Vouves, also in Crete, has an age estimated between 2000 and 4000 years. An olive tree called Farga d'Arió in Ulldecona, Catalonia, Spain, has been estimated (with laser-perimetry methods) to date back to 314 AD, which would mean that it was planted when Constantine the Great was Roman emperor.ARA, June 18, 2015
ARA-diari (2015-06-18). Retrieved on 2015-06-20.
Some Italian olive trees are believed to date back to Ancient Rome (8th century BC to 5th century AD), although identifying progenitor trees in ancient sources is difficult. Several other trees of about 1,000 years old are within the same garden. The 15th-century trees of Olivo della Linza, at Alliste in the Province of Lecce in Apulia on the Italian mainland, were noted by Bishop Ludovico de Pennis during his pastoral visit to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nardò-Gallipoli, Diocese of Nardò-Gallipoli in 1452. The town of Bshaale, Lebanon claims to have the oldest olive trees in the world (4000 BC for the oldest), but no scientific study supports these claims. Other trees in the towns of Amioun appear to be at least 1,500 years old. Throughout Israel and Palestine, dozens of ancient olive trees are found with claimed ages of 1,600–2,000 years. Ancient trees include two giant olive trees in Arraba, Galilee, Arraba and five trees in Deir Hanna, both in the Galilee region, which are claimed to be over 3,000 years old. All seven trees continue to produce olives. Several trees in the Garden of Gethsemane (from the Hebrew words ''gat shemanim'' or olive press) in Jerusalem are claimed to date back to the time of Jesus Christ, Jesus. A study conducted by the National Research Council of Italy in 2012 used carbon dating on older parts of the trunks of three trees from Gethsemane and came up with the dates of 1092, 1166, and 1198 AD, while DNA tests show that the trees were originally planted from the same parent plant. According to molecular analysis, the tested trees showed the same allelic profile at all microsatellite loci analyzed which furthermore may indicate attempt to keep the lineage of an older species intact. However, Bernabei writes, "All the tree trunks are hollow inside so that the central, older wood is missing . . . In the end, only three from a total of eight olive trees could be successfully dated. The dated ancient olive trees do, however, not allow any hypothesis to be made with regard to the age of the remaining five giant olive trees." Babcox concludes, "The roots of the eight oldest trees are possibly much older. Visiting guides to the garden often state that they are two thousand years old." The 2,000-year-old Bidni olive trees on the island of Malta, which have been confirmed through Radiocarbon dating, carbon dating, have been protected since 1933, and are also listed in UNESCO's Database of National Cultural Heritage Laws. In 2011, after recognising their historical and landscape value, and in recognition of the fact that "only 20 trees remain from 40 at the beginning of the 20th century", Maltese authorities declared the ancient Bidni olive grove at Bidnija, limits of Mosta, as a Tree Protected Area, in accordance with the provisions of the Trees and Woodlands Protection Regulations, 2011, as per Government Notice number 473/11. File:Old olive tree in Maslina Kaštela, Croatia.jpg, Kaštela, Croatia File:Ulivone di Canneto Sabino.jpg, Canneto Sabino, Italy File:Olive tree Karystos2.jpg, Karystos, Euboia, Greece


Uses

The olive tree, ''Olea europaea'', has been cultivated for
olive oil Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olive The olive, known by the botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning "European olive", is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and ...

olive oil
, fine wood, olive leaf, ornamental reasons, and the olive fruit. About 90% of all harvested olives are turned into oil, while about 10% are used as table olives. The olive is one of the "trinity" or "triad" of basic ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine, the other two being wheat for bread, pasta, and couscous, and the grape for wine.


Table olives

Table olives are classified by the IOC into three groups according to the degree of ripeness achieved before harvesting: # Green olives are picked when they have obtained full size, while unripe; they are usually shades of green to yellow, and contain the bitter phytochemical, oleuropein. # Semi-ripe or turning-colour olives are picked at the beginning of the ripening cycle, when the colour has begun to change from green to multicolour shades of red to brown. Only the skin is coloured, as the flesh of the fruit lacks pigmentation at this stage, unlike that of ripe olives. # Black olives or ripe olives are picked at full maturity when fully ripe, displaying colours of purple, brown or black. To leaching (chemistry), leach the oleuropein from olives, commercial producers use lye, which neutralizes the bitterness of oleuropein, producing a mild flavour and soft texture characteristic of California black olives sold in cans. Such olives are typically preserved in brine and Sterilization_(microbiology)#Foods, sterilized under high heat during the canning process.


Traditional fermentation and curing

Raw or fresh olives are naturally very bitter; to make them palatable, olives must be cured and fermentation (food), fermented, thereby removing oleuropein, a bitter phenolic compound that can reach levels of 14% of dry matter in young olives. In addition to oleuropein, other phenolic compounds render freshly picked olives unpalatable and must also be removed or lowered in quantity through curing and fermentation. Generally speaking, phenolics reach their peak in young fruit and are converted as the fruit matures. Once ripening occurs, the levels of phenolics sharply decline through their conversion to other organic products which render some cultivars edible immediately. One example of an edible olive native to the island of Thasos is the ''throubes'' black olive, which when allowed to ripen in the sun, shrivel, and fall from the tree, is then edible. The curing process may take from a few days, with lye, to a few months with brine or salt packing. With the exception of California style and salt-cured olives, all methods of curing involve a major fermentation involving bacteria and yeast that is of equal importance to the final table olive product.Kailis, Stanley G. & Harris, David John (2007). ''Producing table olives''. Landlinks Press. Traditional cures, using the natural microflora on the fruit to induce fermentation, lead to two important outcomes: the leaching out and breakdown of oleuropein and other unpalatable phenolic compounds, and the generation of favourable metabolites from bacteria and yeast, such as organic acids, probiotics, glycerol, and esters, which affect the sensory properties of the final table olives. Mixed bacterial/yeast olive fermentations may have probiotic qualities. Lactic acid is the most important metabolite, as it lowers the pH, acting as a natural preservative against the growth of unwanted pathogenic species. The result is table olives which can be stored without refrigeration. Fermentations dominated by lactic acid bacteria are, therefore, the most suitable method of curing olives. Yeast-dominated fermentations produce a different suite of metabolites which provide poorer preservation, so they are corrected with an acid such as citric acid in the final processing stage to provide microbial stability. The many types of preparations for table olives depend on local tastes and traditions. The most important commercial examples are listed below. Lebanon, Lebanese or Phenicia, Phenician Type (olives with fermentation): Applied to green, semiripe, or ripe olives. Olives are soaked in salt water for 24-48 hours. Then, they are slightly crushed with a rock to hasten the fermentation process. The olives are stored for a period of up to a year in a container with salt water, fresh lemon juice, lemon peels, laurel and olive leaves, and rosemary. Some recipes may contain white vinegar or olive oil. Spanish or Sevillian type (olives with fermentation): Most commonly applied to green olive preparation, around 60% of all the world's table olives are produced with this method. Olives are soaked in lye (dilute NaOH, 2–4%) for 8–10 hours to hydrolyse the oleuropein. They are usually considered "treated" when the lye has penetrated two-thirds of the way into the fruit. They are then washed once or several times in water to remove the caustic solution and transferred to fermenting vessels full of brine at typical concentrations of 8–12% NaCl. The brine is changed on a regular basis to help remove the phenolic compounds. Fermentation is carried out by the natural microbiota present on the olives that survive the lye treatment process. Many organisms are involved, usually reflecting the local conditions or "Terroir" of the olives. During a typical fermentation gram-negative enterobacteria flourish in small numbers at first, but are rapidly outgrown by lactic acid bacteria species such as ''Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis'' and ''Pediococcus damnosus''. These bacteria produce lactic acid to help lower the pH of the brine and therefore stabilize the product against unwanted pathogenic species. A diversity of yeasts then accumulate in sufficient numbers to help complete the fermentation alongside the lactic acid bacteria. Yeasts commonly mentioned include the teleomorphs ''Pichia anomala, Pichia membranifaciens, Debaryomyces hansenii'' and ''Kluyveromyces marxianus''. Once fermented, the olives are placed in fresh brine and acid corrected, to be ready for market. Sicilian or Greek type (olives with fermentation): Applied to green, semiripe and ripe olives, they are almost identical to the Spanish type fermentation process, but the lye treatment process is skipped and the olives are placed directly in fermentation vessels full of brine (8–12% NaCl). The brine is changed on a regular basis to help remove the phenolic compounds. As the caustic treatment is avoided, lactic acid bacteria are only present in similar numbers to yeast and appear to be outdone by the abundant yeasts found on untreated olives. As very little acid is produced by the yeast fermentation, lactic, acetic, or citric acid is often added to the fermentation stage to stabilize the process. Picholine or directly-brined type (olives with fermentation): Applied to green, semi-ripe, or ripe olives, they are soaked in lye typically for longer periods than Spanish style (e.g. 10–72 hours) until the solution has penetrated three-quarters of the way into the fruit. They are then washed and immediately brined and acid corrected with citric acid to achieve microbial stability. Fermentation still occurs carried out by acidogenic yeast and bacteria, but is more subdued than other methods. The brine is changed on a regular basis to help remove the phenolic compounds and a series of progressively stronger concentrations of salt are added until the product is fully stabilized and ready to be eaten. Water-cured type (olives with fermentation): Applied to green, semi-ripe, or ripe olives, these are soaked in water or weak brine and this solution is changed on a daily basis for 10–14 days. The oleuropein is naturally dissolved and leached into the water and removed during a continual soak-wash cycle. Fermentation takes place during the water treatment stage and involves a mixed yeast/bacteria ecosystem. Sometimes, the olives are lightly cracked with a hammer or a stone to trigger fermentation and speed up the fermentation process. Once debittered, the olives are brined to concentrations of 8–12% NaCl and acid corrected, and are then ready to eat. Salt-cured type (olives with minor fermentation): Applied only to ripe olives, they are usually produced in Morocco, Turkey, and other eastern Mediterranean countries. Once picked, the olives are vigorously washed and packed in alternating layers with salt. The high concentrations of salt draw the moisture out of olives, dehydrating and shriveling them until they look somewhat analogous to a raisin. Once packed in salt, fermentation is minimal and only initiated by the most halophilic yeast species such as ''Debaryomyces hansenii''. Once cured, they are sold in their natural state without any additives. So-called oil-cured olives are cured in salt, and then soaked in oil. California or "artificial ripening" type (olives without fermentation): Applied to green and semi-ripe olives, they are placed in lye and soaked. Upon their removal, they are washed in water injected with compressed air. This process is repeated several times until both oxygen and lye have soaked through to the pit. The repeated, saturated exposure to air oxidises the skin and flesh of the fruit, turning it black in an artificial process that mimics natural ripening. Once fully oxidised or "blackened", they are brined and acid corrected and are then ready for eating.


Olive wood

Olive wood is very hard and is prized for its durability, colour, high combustion temperature, and interesting grain patterns. Because of the commercial importance of the fruit, and the slow growth and relatively small size of the tree, olive wood and its products are relatively expensive. Common uses of the wood include: kitchen utensils, carved wooden bowls, cutting boards, fine furniture, and decorative items. The yellow or light greenish-brown wood is often finely veined with a darker tint; being very hard and close-grained, it is valued by woodworkers.


Ornamental uses

In modern landscape design olive trees are frequently used as ornamental features for their distinctively Gnarled enamel, gnarled trunks and "evergreen" silvery gray foliage.


Cultivation

The earliest evidence for the domestication of olives comes from the Copper Age, Chalcolithic period archaeological site of Teleilat el Ghassul in what is today modern Jordan. Farmers in ancient times believed that olive trees would not grow well if planted more than a certain distance from the sea;
Theophrastus Theophrastus (; grc-gre, Θεόφραστος ; c. 371c. 287 BC), a Greek native of Eresos Eresos (; el, Ερεσός; grc, Ἔρεσος) and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Le ...

Theophrastus
gives 300 Stadion (unit of length), stadia () as the limit. Modern experience does not always confirm this, and, though showing a preference for the coast, they have long been grown further inland in some areas with suitable climates, particularly in the southwestern Mediterranean (Iberian peninsula, Iberia, northwest Africa) where winters are mild. An article on Olive tree cultivation in Spain is brought down in Ibn al-'Awwam's 12th-century agricultural work, ''Book on Agriculture''. Olives are cultivated in many regions of the world with Mediterranean climates, such as South Africa, Chile, Peru, Australia, Oregon, and
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
, and in areas with temperate climates such as New Zealand. They are also grown in the Córdoba Province, Argentina, Córdoba Province, Argentina, which has a temperate climate with rainy summers and dry winters.


Growth and propagation

Olive trees show a marked preference for Lime (mineral), calcareous soils, flourishing best on limestone slopes and crags, and coastal climate conditions. They grow in any light soil, even on clay if well drained, but in rich soils, they are predisposed to disease and produce poorer oil than in poorer soil. (This was noted by Pliny the Elder.) Olives like hot weather and sunny positions without any shade, while temperatures below may injure even a mature tree. They tolerate drought well, due to their sturdy and extensive root systems. Olive trees can live for several centuries and can remain productive for as long if they are pruned correctly and regularly. Only a handful of olive varieties can be used to cross-pollinate. 'Pendolino' olive trees are partially self-fertile, but pollenizers are needed for a large fruit crop. Other compatible olive tree pollinators include 'Leccino' and 'Maurino'. 'Pendolino' olive trees are used extensively as pollinizers in large olive tree groves. Olives are propagated by various methods. The preferred ways are cuttings and layers; the tree roots easily in favourable soil and throws up Basal shoot, suckers from the stump when cut down. However, yields from trees grown from suckers or seeds are poor; they must be budding, budded or grafting, grafted onto other specimens to do well. Branches of various thickness cut into lengths around planted deeply in manured ground soon vegetate. Shorter pieces are sometimes laid horizontally in shallow trenches and, when covered with a few centimetres of soil, rapidly throw up sucker-like shoots. In Greece, grafting the cultivated tree on the wild tree is a common practice. In Italy, embryonic buds, which form small swellings on the stems, are carefully excised and planted under the soil surface, where they soon form a vigorous shoot. The olive is also sometimes grown from seed. To facilitate germination, the oily pericarp is first softened by slight rotting, or soaked in hot water or in an alkaline solution. In situations where extreme cold has damaged or killed the olive tree, the rootstock can survive and produce new shoots which in turn become new trees. In this way, olive trees can regenerate themselves. In Tuscany in 1985, a very severe frost destroyed many productive, and aged, olive trees and ruined many farmers' livelihoods. However, new shoots appeared in the spring and, once the dead wood was removed, became the basis for new fruit-producing trees. In this way, an olive tree can live for centuries or even millennia. Olives grow very slowly, and over many years, the trunk can attain a considerable diameter. A. P. de Candolle recorded one exceeding in girth. The trees rarely exceed in height, and are generally confined to much more limited dimensions by frequent pruning. ''Olea europaea'' is very hardy: drought-, disease- and fire-resistant, it can live to a great age. Its root system is robust and capable of regenerating the tree even if the above-ground structure is destroyed. The older the olive tree, the broader and more gnarled the trunk becomes. Many olive trees in the groves around the Mediterranean are said to be hundreds of years old, while an age of 2,000 years is claimed for a number of individual trees; in some cases, this has been scientifically verified."Ecosfera", Público, May 13, 2010
Ecosfera.publico.clix.pt (2010-05-13). Retrieved on 2011-12-07
See #Oldest known trees, paragraph dealing with the topic. The crop from old trees is sometimes enormous, but they seldom bear well two years in succession, and in many cases, a large harvest occurs every sixth or seventh season. Where the olive is carefully cultivated, as in Liguria, Languedoc, and Provence, the trees are regularly pruned. The pruning preserves the flower-bearing shoots of the preceding year, while keeping the tree low enough to allow the easy gathering of the fruit. The spaces between the trees are regularly fertilized.


Pests, diseases, and weather

Various Forest pathology, pathologies can affect olives. The most serious pest is the olive fruit fly (''Dacus oleae'' or ''Bactrocera oleae'') which lays its eggs in the olive most commonly just before it becomes ripe in the autumn. The region surrounding the puncture rots, becomes brown, and takes a bitter taste, making the olive unfit for eating or for oil. For controlling the pest, the practice has been to spray with insecticides (organophosphates, e.g. dimethoate). Classic organic methods have now been applied such as trapping, applying the bacterium ''Bacillus thuringiensis'', and spraying with kaolin. Such methods are obligatory for organic olives. A fungus, ''Cycloconium oleaginum'', can infect the trees for several successive seasons, causing great damage to plantations. A species of bacterium, ''Pseudomonas savastanoi'' pv. ''oleae'', induces tumour growth in the shoots. Certain lepidopterous caterpillars feed on the leaves and flowers. ''Xylella fastidiosa'' bacteria, which can also infect citrus fruit and vines, has attacked olive trees in Apulia (Puglia), southern Italy causing the olive quick decline syndrome (OQDS). The main vector is ''Philaenus spumarius'' (meadow spittlebug). A pest which spreads through olive trees is the black scale bug, a small black scale insect that resembles a small black spot. They attach themselves firmly to olive trees and reduce the quality of the fruit; their main predators are wasps. The Plum curculio, curculio beetle eats the edges of leaves, leaving sawtooth damage.Burr, M. (1999). ''Australian Olives. A guide for growers and producers of virgin oils'', 4th edition. . Rabbits eat the bark of olive trees and can do considerable damage, especially to young trees. If the bark is removed around the entire circumference of a tree, it is likely to die. Voles and mice also do damage by eating the roots of olives. At the northern edge of their cultivation zone, for instance in southern France and north-central Italy, olive trees suffer occasionally from frost. Gales and long-continued rains during the gathering season also cause damage.


As an invasive species

Since its first domestication, ''O. europaea'' has been spreading back to the wild from planted groves. Its original wild populations in southern Europe have been largely swamped by feral plants. In some other parts of the world where it has been introduced, most notably South Australia, the olive has become a major woody weed that displaces native vegetation. In South Australia, its seeds are spread by the introduced red fox and by many bird species, including the European starling and the native emu, into woodlands, where they germinate and eventually form a dense canopy that prevents regeneration of native trees. As the climate of South Australia is very dry and bushfire prone, the oil-rich feral olive tree substantially increases the fire hazard of native sclerophyll woodlands.


Harvest and processing

Olives are harvested in the autumn and winter. More specifically in the Northern Hemisphere, green olives are picked from the end of September to about the middle of November. Blond olives are picked from the middle of October to the end of November, and black olives are collected from the middle of November to the end of January or early February. In southern Europe, harvesting is done for several weeks in winter, but the time varies in each country, and with the season and the cultivar. Most olives today are harvested by shaking the boughs or the whole tree. Using olives found lying on the ground can result in poor quality oil, due to damage. Another method involves standing on a ladder and "milking" the olives into a sack tied around the harvester's waist. This method produces high quality oil. A third method uses a device called an oli-net that wraps around the tree trunk and opens to form an umbrella-like catcher from which workers collect the fruit. Another method uses an electric tool, the beater (abbacchiatore in Italian), that has large tongs that spin around quickly, removing fruit from the tree. Olives harvested by this method are used for oil. Table olive varieties are more difficult to harvest, as workers must take care not to damage the fruit; baskets that hang around the worker's neck are used. In some places in Italy, Croatia, and Greece, olives are harvested by hand because the terrain is too mountainous for machines. As a result, the fruit is not bruised, which leads to a superior finished product. The method also involves sawing off branches, which is healthy for future production."Unusual Olives", ''Epikouria Magazine'', Spring/Summer 2006 The amount of oil contained in the fruit differs greatly by cultivar; the pericarp is usually 60–70% oil. Typical yields are of oil per tree per year. Processing olives is done through curing and fermentation or drying in order for them to be edible. Lye and salt brine are used to cure olives from their bitter oleuropein compound. Olives are fermented by yeast and the brine allows bacteria to add flavor and act as a natural preservative by lowering the pH from other bacteria that would lead to spoilage.


Global production

Olives are one of the most extensively cultivated fruit crops in the world. In 2011, about were planted with olive trees, which is more than twice the amount of land devoted to apples, bananas, or mangoes. Only coconut trees and oil palms command more space. Cultivation area tripled from between 1960 and 1998 and reached a peak of in 2008. The 10 largest producing countries, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, are all located in the Mediterranean region and produce 95% of the world's olives.


Nutrition

One hundred grams of cured green olives provide 146 calories, are a rich source of vitamin E (25% of the Daily Value, DV), and contain a large amount of sodium (104% DV); other nutrients are insignificant. Green olives are 75% water, 15% fat, 4% carbohydrates and 1% protein (table). The polyphenol composition of olive fruits varies during fruit ripening and during processing by fermentation when olives are immersed whole in brine or crushed to produce oil. In raw fruit, total polyphenol contents, as measured by the Folin method, are 117 mg/100 g in black olives and 161 mg/100 g in green olives, compared to 55 and 21 mg/100 g for extra virgin and virgin olive oil, respectively. Olive fruit contains several types of polyphenols, mainly tyrosols, phenolic acids, flavonols and flavones, and for black olives, anthocyanins. The main bitter flavor of olives before curing results from oleuropein and its aglycone which total in content, respectively, 72 and 82 mg/100 g in black olives, and 56 and 59 mg/100 g in green olives. During the crushing, kneading and extraction of olive fruit to obtain olive oil, oleuropein, demethyloleuropein and ligstroside are hydrolyzed by endogenous beta-glucosidases to form Aldehyde cinnamal, aldehydic aglycones. Polyphenol content also varies with olive
cultivar A cultivar is a type of plant that people have bred for desired traits, which are reproduced in each new generation by a method such as grafting, tissue culture or carefully controlled seed production. Most cultivars arise from purposeful human ...
(Spain, Spanish Manzanillo (olive), Manzanillo highest) and the manner of presentation, with plain olives having higher contents than those that are pitted or stuffed.


Allergenic potential

Olive tree pollen is extremely allergenic, with an OPALS (Ogren Plant Allergy Scale), OPALS allergy scale rating of 10 out of 10. ''Olea europaea'' is primarily wind-pollinated, and their light, buoyant pollen is a strong trigger for asthma. One popular variety, "Swan Hill", is widely sold as an "allergy-free" olive tree; however, this variety does bloom and produce allergenic pollen.


Gallery

File:Olive-tree-trunk-0.jpg, Olive tree trunk File:Olive blossoms.jpg, Olive flowers Alliste. Olivo della Linza.jpg, Olivo della Linza. 15th century File:Olea europaea young plant01.jpg, A young olive plant, germinated from a seed File:Filet Olive de Nice.jpg, ''Cailletier'' cultivar, with an olive harvest net on the ground, Contes, France File:Shodoshima Olive Park Shodo Island Japan23bs34.jpg, Olive trees on Shōdo Island, Japan File:Olivenhain Alexandroupolis.jpg, Olive grove near Alexandroupolis / Greece


See also

* Moria (tree) * List of olive cultivars * Olive skin


References


External links


Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture; Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN): ''Olea europaea''

Most Common Spanish Olea Trees, Ginart Oleas
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