Olea europaea – Ancient
The European olive tree is an unmistakable symbol of both the Mediterranean landscape and way of life, dating back several millennia. Olea europaea has been cultivated and grown for its fruit and oil by people as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans, but it is nonetheless hardy enough to be suitable for British gardens.
Ancient Olea europaea is a tall evergreen tree with a gnarled hard wood trunk, iconic silver-grey green leathery leaves and sweetly scented flowers. The Ancient trees are in bonsai form where they have been clipped, and tend to be older specimens than our other olive trees.
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The European Olive Tree is an unmistakable symbol of both the Mediterranean landscape and way of life, dating back several millennia.
Widely distributed across the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia, Olea europaea is of course most well known for its fruit – the olive. In the Mediterranean, where they have been grown for over 5,000 years, around 90% of the world’s olives are produced, proving to be one of the region’s most valuable crops.
Ancient olive trees tend to be old ex-commercial production trees, as modern mechanical harvesting methods have popularised taller and skinnier trees, leaving ancient forms more available for ornamental use.
Care & Size Guidance
This evergreen bush is hardy and, from its coastal heritage, can withstand strong winds and even minus temperatures. So, despite their Mediterranean roots, olives are perfectly suitable for British gardens.
Olea europaea is a very slow growing plant and is tolerant of pruning, so it’s unlikely to outgrow the space it’s in.