Olive Tree

The olive tree

The olive tree grows naturally in our country and especially in the southern areas of Italy: it is a tree that does not exceed 6-8 m in height and very long-lived which, in positive climatic conditions, can live for over a thousand years. The trunk is squat, twisted and gnarled; the wood of the bark is heavy and somewhat hard; the branches are scattered and form a decomposed crown; the leaves are lanceolate and small, leathery, evergreen, with the upper part gray-green and the lower part lighter. The flowers are hermaphroditic, white or greenish in color, which bloom on the newest branches in a series of inflorescences (“mignole”); the fruits are minute oval drupes (“olives”), weighing 1–6 grams (depending on the method and the area of ​​cultivation),

Olive tree cultivation

The olive tree is perfectly suited to being cultivated in most of Italy, especially in areas with a mild climate because it hardly tolerates temperatures below -10 ° C. It develops best if planted on stony but well-drained soils and does not require too deep soils. During the winter months the olive tree is in a phase of vegetative rest and for this reason it does not need to be watered. The first shoots usually appear at the end of winter and the olives begin to form as early as spring. In summer, however, the development of the olives stops and the stone begins to harden. These are produced on the branches of the previous year and, for this reason, it is necessary to carry out a correct pruning that can favor a constant production of the fruits over the years. Being a very long-lived plant, the

All the benefits of the olive tree

At the beginning of the 20th century, the interest in the olive tree pushed many scholars to carefully research all its beneficial properties, coming to discover all its secrets. It has been seen that the Olive tree contains, among the most important molecules, a high concentration of Hydroxytyrosol. This is a natural polyphenol involved in the inhibition of cellular oxidation and very useful for fighting the early development of neurodegenerative and aging diseases (arthritis, cardiovascular problems, atherosclerosis). Furthermore, the olive tree has many other healthy principles, among which: it has a high hypotensive action, that is, it is able to reduce blood pressure; promotes the reduction of copper levels in the blood; possesses free anti-radical substances; and finally, oleuropein, contained in its leaves, is a valid antitumor.

Olive tree: The olive tree in history

The history of the olive tree is deeply linked to that of humanity and, since ancient times, the olive tree was adopted as a symbol of sacredness and spirituality. In the Bible, for example, there are more than seventy quotes concerning this plant, starting with the episode in which a dove brings an olive branch to Noah to indicate the end of the flood. In the Christian tradition, olive oil has been used for centuries for the celebration of Confirmation, priestly ordination and Extreme Unction since the oil of this plant is the emblem of peace and rebirth. In ancient Greece, the winners were often offered a cruet of oil and an olive wreath; the olive tree, moreover, was sacred to the goddess Athena; and the ancient Romans used intertwined olive branches to make crowns with which to reward the bravest.

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