Characteristics of Olive Tree (Olea europaea) in the Wild

Olea europaea
Olive (Olea europaea) are a species of tree in the Oleaceae family, originating from the Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, and eastern southern Asia such as China, the Canary Islands, and Réunion.

Olive trees are cultivated in many places and naturalized in all Mediterranean countries, also in Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Norfolk Island, and California.

Olive fruit is an important fruit for agriculture in the Mediterranean region. The fruit is also a source of olive oil, and one of the main ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine.

Fossil evidence that archeologists have found shows that the olive tree has its origins around 20-40 million years ago in the Oligocene (now Italy and the eastern Mediterranean).

The olive tree was first cultivated around 7,000 years ago in the Mediterranean region.

The spread of olive trees outside their natural habitat began when the Spanish invaders brought olives to the New World (Americas), where olive trees were cultivated in Peru, Chile, and Argentina at that time.

The first seedlings brought from Spain were planted by Antonio de Rivera in 1560. Then the planting of olive trees increased and spread rapidly along the valley of the tropical Pacific coast to South America where the climate was similar to the Mediterranean.

Then, Spanish missionaries began planting olive trees in the 18th century in California. This was the first time an olive tree was cultivated in Mission San Diego de Alcálapada around 1975-1795.

In Japan, the first successful olive tree grew in 1908 on Shodo Island, where olive cultivation was born.

The use of olive oil has gradually become a very successful commercial venture from the 1860s onwards.

Olive oil has long been considered sacred by residents of the Mediterranean. Olive branch or branch symbolizes abundance, glory, and peace. The lush branches of the olive tree in traditional rituals are offered to gods and powerful figures as symbols of blessing and purification, and they are used to crown the winners of friendly matches and bloody wars.

Today, olive oil is still used in many religious ceremonies. Over the years, olives have also been used to symbolize wisdom, fertility, strength, and purity.


Characteristics of Olive Leaf

Olea europaea Leaf
Source :’s

Olive leaves are oblong, silvery green, measuring 4-10 cm long and 1-3 cm wide.


Characteristics of Olive Flower

Olea europaea Flower
Source :

Small, white, and feathered olives.


Characteristics of Olive Fruit

Olea europaea Fruit
Source : C. Willson

Olives are small, 1-3 cm long, thin, and fleshy. The fruit is harvested when it is purplish green.


Characteristics of the Olive Tree

Olea europaea Tree
Source : de Block

Olive trees grow to form large shrubs that are short and rarely exceed 10 meters. Adult olive tree trunks are usually gray-black, wrinkled, rough, and look like twisted.


Many ancient olive trees around the Mediterranean Sea are thousands of years old, and most are more than 2,000 years old. The olive tree on the island of Brijuni (Brioni), Istria in Croatia, has a radiocarbon dating age of around 1,600 years and still produces about 30 kg of fruit per year.

The olive tree called Farga d’Arió in Ulldecona, in Catalonia, Spain was estimated to have been planted in 314, which means that the tree existed when Constantine the Great served as Roman emperor.

And the oldest and confirmed age is the olive grove named Bidni, with an average tree age of 2,000 years. This ancient olive forest on the island of Malta has been protected since 1933 and is listed on the UNESCO list. In 2011, there were only 20 trees left from the previous 40 trees in the early 20th century. The Government of Malta declared the ancient olive forests of Bidni a Protected Forest Area and protected by local law number 473/11.


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