The Sacred Tree
Good Organic Gardening|Good Organic Gardening #11.3
The Sacred Tree
Central to all the cuisines of the mediterranean, the ancient olive has long been celebrated in history and legend
Chloe Thomson

Olive label

Common name: Olive

Botanical name: Olea europaea

Family: Oleaceae

Aspect & soil: Full sun; well-drained soil

Best climate: Mediterranean, temperate

Habit: Evergreen shrub

Propagation: Seedling, cutting

Difficulty: Moderate

Records suggest olive trees were cultivated around 5000 years ago in Syria, which makes them one of the oldest tree crops in the world.

The branches of this ancient tree were offered as a peace sign, Olympic victors were crowned with a wreath of its leaves and the golden oil made from its fruit was rubbed on gladiators’ aching muscles.

Olive trees thrive in regions of the world with Mediterranean-style climates: cool winters and hot dry summers with low humidity. They are grown in home gardens today for their ornamental beauty as well as for the fruit and oil.


Plant your olive tree in a full-sun spot so that it gets at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. The biggest killer of olive trees is wet feet, so make sure there’s good drainage.


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Good Organic Gardening #11.3