1. Olive trees are some of the longest living trees. The oldest dated olive tree is estimated to be 4,000 years old. It is still standing and producing olives in Crete, Greece. In Puglia, some trees are so old that they have been declared national monuments.
2. Olive wood is very dense and produces 2.5 times more heat than other burning wood.
3. In Roman times, the Puglia region supplied the empire with olives for food, medicine, soap, and a source of fuel for lamps. These trees were so highly regarded that tearing one down could be punishable by death.
4. Olive oil can help you live longer. There have been lots of consistent research on the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, of which olive oil is a vital ingredient.
5. Olive trees are super resilient. As they age, olive trees trunks hollow out. Their trunk and branches die over and over again. Their root systems regenerate themselves and shoot out new growth.
6. The oldest traces of olive oil discovered was found in Bethlehem and dates back 8,000 years.
7. Olive trees grow twisting clockwise, just like human DNA.
8. Olive trees need little water and are draught tolerant.
9. Olive leaves, branches and oil have had spiritual and symbolic uses throughout many civilizations in history. They were used in spiritual rituals in ancient Greece and Egypt. They anointed kings and priests; They crowned champions and were offered to deities. They appear in Greek mythology and are mentioned in many religious books including the Torah, the Quran and the New Testament. It even appears on various national flags. The olive tree and its oil have been regarded as sacred and holy throughout time. They have come to symbolize fertility, wisdom, abundance, power, purity and peace.
10. Harvesting olives might help combat climate change. Greek scientists and agriculturists have found special techniques in producing and harvest olives in a way which allow the olive groves to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere.
Help the Olive Trees in the Mediterranean
Olive trees have such a rich history and a lot of culture importance to people around the world. Its oil is the single most globally consumed product that is so closely linked to the Mediterranean. Olive trees are under threat from a dangerous plant pathogen called Xylella Fastidiosa. Unfortunately, groves in Italy have been badly hit, devastating trees that were hundreds, some thousands year old. The Olive Tree Project creates programs that regenerate the olive groves and help the local communities affected. It aims to protect Europe’s biodiversity and become an instrument against climate change.