The olive tree is a proverbial volcano of life, ready to burst forward if environmental conditions try to stop it in its cycle of growth.
Even if its trunk dries out another will rise from its root; a glimpse of eternity for the mortal man. Olive trees, known for their longevity and hardiness, are able to produce fruit even in the rockiest and most infertile of soils.
In the Mediterranean, there are olive trees dating back hundreds and thousands of years that are still, consistently producing olives.
Arguably the most famous olive tree is found on the island of Crete and is estimated to be between 2000 and 4000 years old, the oldest on the planet. The trunk perimeter of the Monumental Olive Tree of Vouves is 12.5 meters and it continues to be productive to this day.
It is considered a natural monument due to its unique shape and many-layered trunk. With a little imagination and a close look, you can see images of strange faces and a variety of objects.
Αnother famous olive tree is found on the island of Salamis. Extremely ancient as well as massive, the 2500-year-old tree is the only living organism to have survived the battle of Salamis.
The olive tree was one of the most valuable and important trees for Ancient Greeks and has been directly linked to the history and culture of the Greek people, as well as Christian tradition. Regarded as a symbol of peace and wisdom, its “gift”, olive oil, is an integral ingredient of Greek cuisine.
A blanket of olive trees in Central Greece
Harvest time varies from region to region but typically begins in October and ends in early February.
In summary, this remarkable species of tree is not only a primary source of nutritional products for the Greek and the world’s dinner table, but the nature and character of the tree, in many ways, embodies the fascinating and ancient culture of Greece, itself.
☞ Related: Learn more about the unique mastic tree of Chios
The holy fruit