Olea europaea (Olive)

Olives are small planets, and olive trees’ feathery, gentle, greenish blue and silver colors are the universe. In the ancient Mediterranean to modern day Greece, the olive tree has dictated cultural traditions, and one storied tree grows on the Acropolis. At one time, Poseidon and Athena each wanted to be patron to the city of Athens, and each gave a gift, Poseidon a salt spring and Athena an olive tree. Athena won, as the olive brought food, timber, oil, and medicine. Today, the oldest known olive tree is 3000 years old and grows on the island of Crete, where from 3000-1000 BC, the Minoans cultivated and traded olives and olive oil. Romans grew and traded olives as well, and Roman poet Horace described his diet as only olive, endive and mallow, three plants in this exhibit. When a Greek child is born, an olive tree is traditionally planted, and when the child turns six, the tree produces olives. Olives love the sun and the sea air. They live from 300-600 years but some live for thousands, as in Crete.

Elizabeth Oriel 2022