Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Trees & Shrubs

Wild olive (Olea europaea subsp. oleaster)

Description

The wild olive is a shrub or medium-sized tree, since the height rarely gets over 10 meters. This plant has yellowish white flowers that grow in clusters. The olive, its fruit, is black and has one seed stretched out through the fruit, called pit or stone. This fruit is green and edible before ripening. The Wild Olive is an evergreen species, meaning it will not shed its leaves during cold or dry seasons. The leaves are lance-shaped and relatively thick.

Habitat

Bushy places at low elevations. It needs mild climates like in the Mediterranean. This species is very common across the Aegean and other parts of Greece.

Protection status

This species is listed as “Not evaluated” by the IUCN Red List.

Interesting facts

Olives were probably the primary source of wealth for the Minoan civilization. This means that around 3000 B.C. they were already produced commercially. A possible origin of the name olive is the proto-greek word ἐλαίϝα (Elaíwa).

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