Olive Trees in 60 seconds
Want some fast facts? Here’s your “Olive Trees in 60 seconds” crammer!
Life: Up to 4000 years, and possibly longer
Height: In their mediterranean homelands, they can grow up to a lofty 8-15 metres at their tallest but here in the UK much shorter – 5 metres would be more likely as a maximum.
Soil preference: Thrive best in poor, well-drained soil but will grow in most soil, even clay if well-drained.
OLIVE trees (olea europaea) are evergreens, and although they are native to the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia, they are quite hardy and well able to tolerate most conditions in the UK.
The ancestry of the olive and olive trees, is unknown, though they are undoubtedly a very old species, and fossils of olive leaves have been found dating back to 25,000 BC. Olive trees, it would seem, have been much revered by ancient civilisations, with references in Greek and Roman literature and in the bible.
Olive trees are elegant trees with silvery-grey leaves. They require little attention, though a thorough pruning will prevent them getting out of hand, and they will fruit in the right conditions. The fruit is inedible without “curing”, and olives are usually harvested when they are green or purple in colour.