Food Plants International - Plant Fact Sheets Olea europaea - Olive
Edible Portion: Fruit, Herb, Spice, Manna, Leaves, Oil
A medium sized evergreen tree. It grows to 16 m high and can spread to 10 m wide. The trunk is often gnarled and twisted. The leaves are greyish-green. They are feather shaped and grow opposite each other. Leaves are replaced every two or three years. The flowers are small and cream coloured. They are on long stems in the axils of leaves but are hidden by the leaves. Some flowers contain both male and female parts while others are male only. Pollination is by wind but most olives are self pollinated. Fruit set is better with cross pollination and some varieties can only be cross pollinated. The fruit is small and green or black and oily. The shape, size and colour of fruit vary with variety.