Olive

Historical note The olive tree is among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world. Several biblical references to olive suggest its use dates back to ancient times and victors in the early Olympic Games were crowned with its leaves. Olives and its associated products have been used widely as folk medicines in countries such as Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and the Mediterranean islands. Today, the olive plant is most well known for its fruit crop and oil. The Mediterranean region produces approximately 98% of the world's total olive crop (~11 million tons) (Delgado-Pertinez 2000), although the plant is also widespread on the Arabian peninsula, the Indian subcontinent and Asia. More recently, olive plantations have been developed in Australia and research is now being undertaken to identify the best species suited to the subtropical climate.

BOTANICAL NAME/FAMILY

Olea europaea L. (family Oleaceae)

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