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The olive tree was domesticated in Western Asia where it grew first in the wild. Highly appreciated in the Sumerian era, it became a pillar of the ancient Mediterranean civilisations. Considered to be the tree of Wisdom and Peace, and a sacred tree when it was introduced into Italy via Greece. The olive is cultivated today on the five continents and in more than thirty countries.
Originally from the Mediterranean region, the olive tree stands between ten and fifteen metres in height. The central stem is covered with smooth grey bark, and has twisted, greyish-white branches. The grey-green leaves are opposed and silky underneath, evergreen, petiolate, oblong, sturdy and entire. The erect whitish flowers form axillary bunches around the leaves. The fruit is widely-known – the olive is ellipsoid or spherical, green when young and black when it matures. The bony olive pit encloses one or two seeds.
FRAGRANCE AND FLAVOUR: Do not eat the young fruit, which is terribly bitter.
USES: infusions, food and oil.