There's nothing better than an olive tree to bring the Mediterranean into your garden. This beautiful fruit tree, of which the fruits have been used for almost 6000 years, make a good addition to any garden.
The olive tree can be kept in a large pot but prefers being planted out in well drained soil. It loves sunny spots, and looks great near light coloured walls. The olive tree needs protection during winter or has to be put inside. It is vulnerable to frost, particularly when young.
The olive tree has a twisted trunk with a gnarled look that usually does not reach heights higher than 8-15 metres (25-50 feet). The leaves of the wintergreen olive tree have a light green (or silver-green) colour. These leaves are ovally shaped and reach 5-10 cm (2-4 inch) long and 1-3 cm (0,4-1,2 inch) wide. Furthermore, the olive tree grows small, white flowers.
The olive, which officially is a fruit, has multiple functions. Firstly, it is widely used culinary. Olives can be eaten when ripened and kept in a salt bath for six months to take away the bitter taste. The seed of the olive can be used to make the famous olive oil, which is a must-have for any Mediterranean dish.
Another well known use of the olive tree is the use of the wood. The wood is very sturdy, strong and durable. It also takes a high temperature to combust. With wood of this quality it should not come as a surprise that there are olive trees which are more than 2000 years old.
Besides the wood and culinary uses, the olive tree is used for many religious ceremonies. This has been the case for thousands of years. This is still visible in the many mythologies. Nowadays the oil is the main component for religious ceremonies. It stands symbol for wisdom, fertility, power and purity.
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