Olea europaea – Mature
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.
Mature Olea europaea is a tall evergreen tree with a hard wood trunk, iconic silver-grey green leathery leaves and sweetly scented flowers. All our olives are carefully selected to meet all plant health requirements.
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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. Named ‘the queen of all trees’ by the ancient Roman agricultural writer Lucius Columella, they have long represented wealth, abundance, power and peace – a wreath of its foliage was even presented to victorious ancient Greek athletes as a trophy of their success.
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.
Today, there are thought to be around 865 million olive trees in the world, some of which are claimed to be at least 2000 years old and yet still produce olives!
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.
The Tuscan form
Tuscan form of shaping olive trees reflects the traditional agricultural practices of Tuscany, where olive cultivation has been a vital part of the region’s economy and culinary heritage for centuries.
The Tuscan form involves training the olive tree to have a short, squat trunk with a wide, open crown. The lateral branches are trained to radiate outwards in a balanced manner, creating a symmetrical and open canopy. These branches are pruned and thinned regularly to maintain the desired shape. The aim is to create a well-spaced arrangement of branches that allows sunlight to penetrate the canopy, ensuring optimal light exposure and airflow throughout the tree.
By keeping the tree relatively low and spreading the branches, the Tuscan form facilitates ease of maintenance and harvesting. The resulting olive trees have a distinctive and picturesque appearance, contributing to the overall beauty of the Tuscan landscape.