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Overview

Brief Summary

The Olive (Olea europaea) is a small evergreen tree that grows best in a Mediteranean climate. Spain, Italy, Greece, and other Mediterranean countries are major producers, but olives are also cultivated outside the Mediterranean region in regions with an appropriate climate (e.g., in in California and Argentina). The olive fruit has a skin, a fleshy pulp, and a stony kernel. As the fruit matures, it turns from green to black.

Some archaeological evidence suggests that the Olive may have been domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean region 10,000 years ago. Certainly, this species has been closely associated with human religious, cultural, medical, and food uses for thousands of years. As food, olives are used both for their edible pulp (which contains up to 40% or more oil, in contrast to the kernel, which contains only a small amount of oil) and as the source of olive oil. The oil is monounsaturated, with a high percentage of the fatty acid oleic acid. Olive oil is used as a cooking oil, in salad dressings, and as a food preservative; in some places, such as the United Kingdom, it is used in a spread. Olive oil is also used in cosmetics and in the pharmaceutical industry, among other applications. Olives are cold-pressed and the first pressings, which require no further treatment, are known as "virgin" ("extra virgin" olive oil is virgin oil that has a specified low acidity). The residue left after pressing (pomace) is used in animal feed.

Both green (immature) and black olives are pickled in brine. These olives contain less oil than those used for oil extraction. Prior to pickling, the bittter glycoside oleuropein is often neutralized with caustic soda or another lye solution. During processing, the olives may have their pits removed and sometimes replaced with pimentos, garlic (Allium sativum), or some other filling.

Olive pollen is one of the most important causes of seasonal respiratory allergy in Mediterranean countries. In addition, cases of contact dermatitis and food allergy to the olive fruit and olive oil have been described. (Rodriguez et al. 2001; Esteve et al. 2012)

The Olive Fruit Fly (Bactrocera oleae) is an important economic pest wherever olives are grown (Daane and Johnson 2010). The historical biogeography of this fly, and its evolving relationship with O. europea, have been investigated by Nardi et al. (2010).

Feral Olive trees are significant weeds in Hawaii, Norfolk Island, and Australia (Spenneman and Allen 2000; Cuneo et al. 2010).

(Vaughan and Geissler 1997)

  • Cuneo, P., C.A. Offord, and M.R. Leishman. 2010. Seed ecology of the invasive woody plant African Olive (Olea europaea subsp cuspidata): implications for management and restoration. Australian Journal of Botany 58(5): 342-348.
  • Daane, K.M. and M.W. Johnson. 2010. Olive fruit fly: managing an ancient pest in modern times. Annual Review of Entomology 55: 151-169.
  • Esteve, C., C. Montealegre, M.L. Marina, and M.C. Garcia. 2012. Analysis of Olive allergens. Talanta 92: 1-14.
  • Nardi, F., A. Carapelli, J.L. Boore, G.K. Roderick, R. Dallai, and F. Frati. 2010. Domestication of olive fly through a multi-regional host shift to cultivated olives: Comparative dating using complete mitochondrial genomes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57(2): 678-686.
  • Rodriguez, R., M. Villalba, R.I Monsalve, and E. Batanero. 2001. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 125 (3): 185-195.
  • Spennemann, D.H.R. and L.R. Allen. 2000. Feral olives (Olea europaea) as future woody weeds in Australia: a review. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 40 (6): 889-901.
  • Vaughan, J.G. and C.A. Geissler. 1997. The New Oxford Book of Food Plants (revised and updated edition). Oxford University Press, New York.
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Comprehensive Description

L’Olivier d’Europe (Olea europaea L.) est une espèce de la famille des Oleaceae, dont la présence en France est probablement due à l’arrivée des premiers peuplements humains, originaires de l’est du Bassin méditerranéen. Il est largement répandu sur l’ensemble du pourtour méditerranéen, remonte sur les contreforts de la vallée du Rhône jusqu’aux environs de Valence (Drôme) et vers la région toulousaine, ainsi que sur le piémont des Alpes du Sud.

Cet arbuste vivace, à forte longévité, possédant un aspect buissonnant et dont la taille n’excède généralement pas 10 m de hauteur à l’état âgé, possède des feuilles simples, opposées, persistantes, faiblement pétiolées, de consistance coriace, vertes sur la face supérieure et blanchâtres sur la face inférieure, de forme ovale elliptique, souvent pointues à leur extrémité. Les fleurs s’ouvrent d’avril à juin et sont monoclines, de couleur blanc lait et disposées en grappes contractées. Le périanthe est constitué d’un calice tétramère gamosépale très réduit et d’une corolle actinomorphe, rotacée, tétramère, gamopétale à sa base, mais laissant largement voir ses quatre pétales étalés. L’androcée est formé de deux étamines dont les filets sont très courts, prenant naissance sur la base de la corolle. La pollinisation est essentiellement anémophile. Le gynécée est bicarpellaire gamocarpique. Le fruit est une drupe, verte lorsqu’elle est jeune, noire à maturité, à partir de mi-novembre, à dissémination globalement barochorique, bien que parfois les oiseaux ingurgitent celle-ci entièrement.

Cette espèce est typique des milieux xérophiles, thermophiles et héliophiles (garrigues, matorrals, maquis, etc.) du Bassin méditerranéen, aussi bien sur sol calcaire que sur sol schisteux.

La chair des fruits est très riche en composés lipidiques et donne une huile de table dont les qualités nutritionnelles ne sont plus à démontrer, en plus d’une activité laxative douce. Les feuilles sont traditionnellement utilisées comme hypotenseur, diurétique, fébrifuge et antirhumatismal.

L’Olivier d’Europe peut facilement se confondre avec les filaires (genre Phillyrea). Ceux-ci ne présentent pas de feuilles à face inférieure couverte de petits poils blancs donnant une couleur argentée.

Référence bibliographique principale : RAMEAU J.-C. ; MANSION D. ; DUMÉ G. ; GAUBERVILLE C. ; BARDAT J. ; BRUNO. É & KELLER. R. – 2008. Flore forestière française – Guide écologique illustré. Tome 3. Institut pour le Développement forestier, Paris (France) : 2426 pp.
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L’Olivier d’Europe (Olea europaea L.) est une espèce de la famille des Oleaceae, dont la présence en France est probablement due à l’arrivée des premiers peuplements humains, originaires de l’est du Bassin méditerranéen, en l’Europe de l’Ouest. Il est largement répandu sur l’ensemble du pourtour méditerranéen, remonte sur les contreforts de la vallée du Rhône jusqu’aux environs de Valence (Drôme) et vers la région toulousaine, ainsi que sur le piémont des Alpes du Sud.

Cet arbuste possède un aspect buissonnant, dont la taille n’excède généralement pas 10 m de hauteur à l’état âgé, avec des feuilles simples, opposées, persistantes, de consistance coriace, verte sur la face supérieure et blanchâtre sur la face inférieure, de forme ovale elliptique, souvent pointues à leur extrémité. Les fleurs s’ouvrent d’avril à juin et sont de couleur blanc lait et disposées en grappes contractées. Le périanthe est constitué d’un calice tétramère gamosépale très réduit et d’une corolle rotacée tétramère gamopétale à sa base, mais laissant largement voir ses quatre pétales étalés. L’androcée est formé de deux étamines dont les filets sont très courts, prenant naissance sur la base de la corolle. La pollinisation est essentiellement anémophile. Le gynécée est bicarpellaire gamocarpique. Le fruit est une drupe, verte lorsqu’elle est jeune, noire à maturité, à partir de mi-novembre, à dissémination globalement barochorique, bien que parfois les oiseaux ingurgitent celle-ci entièrement.

Cette espèce est typiquement présente dans les milieux xérophiles, thermophiles et héliophiles (garrigues, matorrals, maquis, etc.), mais peut également se rencontrer dans toute zone délaissée et artificialisée, des régions à climat méditerranéen strict ou atténué, aussi bien sur sol calcaire que schisteux.

La chair des fruits est très riche en composés lipidiques et donne une huile de table dont les qualités nutritionnelles ne sont plus à démontrer, en plus d’une activité laxative douce. Les feuilles sont traditionnellement utilisées comme hypotenseur, diurétique, fébrifuge et antirhumatismal.

L’Olivier d’Europe, lorsqu’il est jeune, peut facilement se confondre avec les filaires (genre Phillyrea). Celles-ci ne présentent pas de feuilles à face inférieure couverte de petits poils blancs donnant une couleur argentée.

Référence bibliographique principale : RAMEAU J.-C. ; MANSION D. ; DUMÉ G. ; GAUBERVILLE C. ; BARDAT J. ; BRUNO. É ; KELLER. R. – 2008. Flore forestière française – Guide écologique illustré. Tome 3. Institut pour le Développement forestier, Paris (France) : 2426 pp.
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Botanical Description

Bole: Straight. Medium. To 20 m. Bark: Dark brown/grey. Hard. Fissured. Slash: Yellow/brown with orange flecks. Woody. Hard. Smells of pombe. Leaf: Simple. Opposite. Petiole: 0.1 - 1.3 cm. Lamina: Small/medium. 1.8 - 9.5 × 0.8 - 2.4 cm. Lanceolate/elliptic. Cuneate. Acute/obtuse/mucronate. Entire. Glabrous. Lower surface densely covered with small circular scales. Domatia: Absent. Glands: Present. Lamina minutely punctate. Stipules: Absent. Thorns & Spines: Absent. Flower: White. Fragrant. Terminal and lateral paniculate cymes. Hermaphrodite. Fruit: Drupe. Ellipsoid 0.5 - 1 cm long.
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Description

Shrub or small to medium-sized evergreen tree with a rounded crown. Bark, grey to brown, smooth when young but rough and deeply fissured on older trees; young branches 4-angled. Leaves opposite, linear-lanceolate to narrowly oblong-elliptic, up to c. 10 cm long, grey-green to dark green above, with a silvery to golden-brown layer of scales below; apex with a sharp tip, often curled backwards; margin entire, rolled under. Flowers small, in lax axillary, occasionally terminal, heads, greenish-cream, sweetly scented. Fruit ellipsoid, c. 8 × 10 mm, thinly fleshy with a sharp apical tip, red to purple black when ripe.
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Derivation of specific name

europaea: of Europe, referring to the commercial olive; cuspidata: with a sharp, rigid apical point, which could refer to either the leaves or the fruit.
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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Arabian Peninsula to Iran; China; eastern Africa; Eastern Arc Mountains; India; Mascarenes; northern Tanzania; southern Africa
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Distribution in Egypt

Mountainous Southern Sinai (St.Katherine), Isthmic Desert, North Sinai. 

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Worldwide distribution

(various subspecies) thoughout Africa, Middle East, India to China. Introduced in Australia.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Trees up to 7 m high, greyish-green; bark grey, on branchlets whitish. Leaves lanceolate, sometimes ovate, c. 4 cm long, 1 cm broad, coriaceous; upper surface dark green, with few scales, ventral silvery-whitish due to scaly hairs; petiole 5 mm. Flowers whitish, in terminal or lateral cymes. Calyx truncate or with 4 little teeth. Corolla tube short; lobes 4, 1-2 mm long. Drupe blackish-violet when ripe, ovoid, 1-2 cm in diam.; pulp oily.
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Description

Trees or shrubs to 10 m, evergreen. Branchlets angular, along with petiole and leaf blade densely silvery-gray or rusty lepidote. Petiole 2-5 mm; leaf blade narrowly lanceolate to elliptic, rarely narrowly ovate, 1.5-10 × 0.5-2 cm, leathery, glabrous, base cuneate or attenuate, margin entire, apex acute to acuminate and mucronate to cuspidate; primary veins 5-11 on each side of midrib, obscure, somewhat raised adaxially. Panicles axillary or terminal, 2-4 cm. Flowers bisexual or functionally unisexual, subsessile. Calyx 1-1.5 mm. Corolla white, 2.5-4 mm; tube ca. 1 mm; lobes elliptic-oblong, involute, 1.5-3 mm. Drupe ellipsoid or subglobose, 0.7-4 cm. 2n = 46.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat & Distribution

Widely cultivated in Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang. Probably originating in the Mediterranean region or SW Asia.
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Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / pathogen
epiphyllous colony of Pseudocercospora dematiaceous anamorph of Pseudocercospora cladosporioides infects and damages leaf of Olea europea

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flower/Fruit

Fl. Per.: April-May. Fruit: September-October.
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Life Expectancy

Perennial

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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Leaves alter shape to optimize light: olive tree
 

Leaves of olive trees optimize sunlight by changing shape and being flexible to changing conditions.

         
  "1. Canopy plasticity, the expression of different leaf phenotypes  within the crown of an individual tree has complex functional and  evolutionary implications that remain to be thoroughly assessed. We  hypothesized that it can lead to disparity in how leaves in different  positions of the canopy change with allometric growth and population  genetic structure.
 2. Leaf phenotypes of the inner and outer canopy were estimated using  eight morphological and physiological characters…With these data, we  investigated the extent to which leaf phenotypes change with plant size,  genetic processes and in = response to environmental conditions inside  and outside the canopy.
 3. The size of trees measured in the field was clearly associated with  the phenotype of sun [leaves] but not to that of shade leaves. The  phenotype of sun leaves depended on both direct and diffuse light, while  that of shade leaves was found to correlate only with diffuse  radiation. Additionally, light availability inside the canopy was  conditioned by the shape of external leaves, and increasing
 elongation of sun leaves led to higher radiation in the inner canopy.
 4. The field phenotypes of both inner and outer canopy leaves were  correlated with genetic variation among populations. Conversely, in the  common garden, the different genotypes expressed a homogeneous sun  phenotype, while phenotypic differences among populations remained  apparent in shade leaves.
 5. We conclude that, in agreement with our working hypothesis, canopy  plasticity is both cause and consequence of the environment experienced  by the plant and might lead to the differential expression of genetic  polymorphisms among leaves. Furthermore, we propose that it can  contribute to buffer abiotic stress and to the partition of light use  within the tree crown." (de Casas et al. 2011:1)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • de Casas RR. 2011. It's good to have a shady side: sun and shade leaves play different roles in tree canopies.
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-03/nesc-igt033111.php.
  • Vogle S. 2009. Leaves in the lowest and highest winds: temperature, force and shape. New Phytologist. 183: 13-26.
  • Sack L; Melcher PJ; Liu WH; Middleton E; Pardee T. 2006. How strong is intracanopy leaf plasticity in temperate deciduous trees?. American Journal of Botany. 93(6): 829-839.
  • Burns KC; Beaumont S. 2009. Scale-dependent trait correlations in a temperate tree community. Austral Ecology. 34: 670-677.
  • de Casas RFR; Vargas P; Perez-Corona; Manrique E; Garcia-Verduga C; Balaguer L. 2011. Sun and shade leaves of Olea europaea respond differently to plant size, light availability and genetic variation. Functional Ecology , Accessed March 25, 2011.
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Functional adaptation

Excretions provide antimicrobial protection: olive trees
 

Olive trees protect themselves from microbes using antimicrobial excretions.

   
  "Other models for antimicrobial excretions include olive trees, biscuit roots, lichen, and fungal-tending ants." (Biomimicry Guild unpublished report)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Olea europaea subsp. europaea x O. europaea subsp. cuspidata

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Barcode data: Olea europaea

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Olea europaea subsp. europaea x O. europaea subsp. cuspidata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Olea europaea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 13
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Management

These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

firewood; building; tools; food
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Wikipedia

Olive

"Olive grove" and "Olive tree" redirect here. For other uses, see Olive grove (disambiguation) and Olive tree (disambiguation).
This article is about the tree and the fruit. For other uses, see Olive (disambiguation). For olive oil, see Olive oil.

The olive (Listeni/ˈɒlɪv/ or Listeni/ˈɑːləv/, Olea europaea, meaning "olive from/of Europe") is a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae, found in much of Africa, the Mediterranean Basin from Portugal to the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and southern Asia as far east as China, as well as the Canary Islands, Mauritius and Réunion. The species is cultivated in many places and considered naturalized in France, Corsica, Crimea, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Java, Norfolk Island, California and Bermuda.[1][2]

Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the Mediterranean region as the source of olive oil. The tree and its fruit give its name to the plant family, which also includes species such as lilacs, jasmine, Forsythia and the true ash trees (Fraxinus). The word derives from Latin ŏlīva ("olive fruit", "olive tree"; "olive oil" is ŏlĕum)[3] which is cognate with the Greek ἐλαία (elaía, "olive fruit", "olive tree") and ἔλαιον (élaion, "olive oil").[4][5] The oldest attested forms of the latter two words in Greek are respectively the Mycenaean

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Notes

Comments

Origin probably in Asia Minor. Cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region, now spread over the subtropical regions of the entire globe. Frequently grafted on Olea ferruginea. Many varieties of the Olive tree have been developed and are grown, for fruit only. The olives yield a highly priced edible oil which can be stored for a couple of months without becoming rancid. Olives as a whole or without stone can be used for pickles. The bitter astringent taste is removed by treatment with sodium hydroxide and salt solutions.

Earlier introductions grew well in Pakistan but gave hardly any fruit, as most of the varieties are self-sterile and no proper pollinator was present. Recently different varieties have been planted together with some proper pollinators, and the results are quite satisfactory. There is hope now that the cultivation of the olive tree will spread all over the northern regions of Pakistan in the near future.

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Comments

The fruit are used for oil and food.
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