Olive Trees

January 05, 2018



Photographer: Menashe Davidson 
Summary Author: Menashe Davidson

The olive, one of the plants often cited in western literature and art from olden times, is indigenous to coastal areas of eastern Mediterranean. Olives have been cultivated in the Mediterranean region for some 5,500 years and are now cultivated commercially in many regions of the world. This familiar fruit is an important source of food for local populations and is a significant export crop for Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Morocco.

Tolerating harsh growing conditions, olive trees (Olea europaea, family Oleaceae) are tough, reliable producers that because of their attractive gray-green, evergreen leaves and occasionally gnarled trunks are now also being used as a focal point in landscape planning – they’re commonly seen in parks, along avenues and in both public and private gardens. One disadvantage of employing olive trees in recreational areas is that if the green olives aren’t picked, the ripened fruit (black olives) drops, sometimes creating a messy area around the base of the tree.

The photos above were taken on September 16, 2017, in a park in Rishon LeZion, Israel. On the bottom photo note the large numbers of fruit on this year's growth. The olive tree is known for its strong tendency for alternate bearing (biennial bearing). So next year’s crop will likely be much smaller.