The Italian or Greek type olive tree can grow into an edible olive in black or green colors. Black Mission olive tree and American olive Trees are two examples. Olive trees have produced European olive oil for centuries and olive fresh fruit as both pickled black olive or green olive pimento treats. The olive tree is evergreen and will grow large with early olive production of 2 years on grafted trees.
Growing and planting olive trees has been a basic fruit tree since Biblical times; Hebrew Scripture referring to the olive tree and olive fruit is abundant in the Old Testament and the New Testament Bible. Bible verses refer to olive oil used to anoint kings; to fuel olive oil lamps, and to include olive food preparation. Olive oil has been a trading staple for centuries and came from the olive fruit harvested. Important citations in the Bible refer to Jesus at the Mount of Olives and the Jesus last day prayer that occurred in the olive grove at the Garden of Gethsemane at Jerusalem. Olive fruit and olive oil production has been centralized in Europe since Bible times, but now extensive tree plantings in orchards of the United States offer promise of cheaper olives and olive oil. Many Americans with European ancestry plant large olive trees at their US homes. Autumn olive fruit ripens in the autumn and Eleagnus umbellata (Autumn Olive) is often planted as a plant block, hedge, and privacy screen and as a favorite food for wildlife game animals and wildlife birds.
Extensive olive tree plantings occur in Sicily where olive oil was exported to US consumers. This trade in olives and olive oil from Sicily created the Godfather legend and the Mafia connections between Italian and Sicilian entrepreneurs. The hot, dry climate of Italy and Sicily is perfect for commercial olive orchards, as well as Greece and Israel, Palestine and Syria. The cold hardy character of the olive tree recently discovered in cold areas has expanded the growing boundaries of olive trees into more cold hardy areas of the US such as zone 7.
For old country residents, now citizens of the Northern US an olive tree can be planted into a large container and moved inside to grow during the winter, where the olive trees can produce fragrant flowering followed by green olive fruit turning to black when ripe for harvest. The white color of the olive leaves makes the olive a favorite containerized tree for a flavor of Europe in Greek and Italian weddings.
By Pat Rick