OLIVE (Olea europaea L)


Evergreen tree which can reach 10-15 m of height, long-lived, of slow growing, with broad and little dense crown. Thick, irregular, tortuous, twisted and often very short trunk with white wood very appreciated in cabinetmaking. The basal part of the trunk is made up of a heavy stump in which the tree stores reserve material and is able to emit continuously shoots which ensure the survival of the tree. It gives terminal shoots of growth (branch shoots) during the months of March and April after the winter resting stage. The bark shows elliptical lumps, ridges and tight cracks. The color of the bark is light gray or silver. The upper branches emerge from the trunk, have a high capacity for renewal and show an extraordinary vigor; are of smooth barksand and only crack over the years. The leaves are simple, thick, opposite, entire, coriaceous, elliptical, oblong or lanceolate, depending on the variety from 30 mm to 50 mm long and from 10 mm to 15 mm wide, the central nerve is very acute opposite to the secondary one, it has mucronate apex and narrows in the base in a short petiole which does not exceed 0.5 cm, the margins are entire and incurved towards the abaxial surface. The leaves are persistent and remain on the tree for two or three years.

The inflorescence of the olive is a panicle, has a central axis which branch off that at the same time can also branch out. In the branches of the inflorescence, flowers may be isolated or form groups of three to five flowers. Are bisexual or polygamous, since they have two types of flowers: perfect and staminate. The perfect flowers are hermaphrodite made up of a gamosepalous cup, inconspicuous (2 small teeth), green-whitish colored made up of four sepals, the gamopetalous corolla made up of four petals arranged in a white or yellowish-white cross. They are gathered in small axillary clusters with a white corolla. The number of flowers per inflorescence ranges from 10 to 40 flowers depending on the variety and environmental conditions and physiological characteristics of the tree. 

Its fruits are olives. They are drupes ovoid or somewhat globular, in which appears a single bone. They have different sizes, depending on variety, but typically range between 1.5 and 3 cm. The olive experiences changes in color while it fattens. From deep green at the beginning of its setting, to a yellowish green when it is developing, purple spots appear at the beginning of ripening, followed by a bluish purple hue, finally, when it reaches full maturity in a bluish black hue. Olives ripen in autumn, September and October, and harvested at this time for their keep, for it they must be dispossessed of their characteristic bitter taste. Those which are used for making olive oil are collected in winter during the months of November and December, to be carried to the mill. The olive bear fruits in bunches of the previous year, a circumstance that benefits the alternation of crops in a year of high production. In this way the vegetative growth, carrying the following harvest, is reduced.

It belongs to the botanical family of Oleaceae in the Ligustrales order. It is native of Asia Minor but it is cultivated throughout the Mediterranean, mainly in Spain, for many centuries. From Iran, Syria and Palestine it was expanded for the rest of the Mediterranean basin. Their habitat is determined by the Mediterranean climate characterized by mild winters and dry summers. The areas belonging to this kind of weather are located between 30 ° and 45 ° parallels of both hemispheres.

Part used
The leaves. Sometimes the fruits and their juice.

> Hypertension.
> Prevention and treatment of arteriosclerosis.
> Coronary deficiency.
> Type 2 diabetes.
> Hypercholesterolemia.
> Respiratory infections, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.
> Other medical uses: hyperuricemia, fever, arthritis and arthralgia. Some authors recommend it also in AIDS, candidiasis, chronic fatigue syndrome and in case of fibromyalgia.

Fruits (oil)
> Hypercholesterolemia and hyperlipidemia.
> Prevention of the arteriosclerosis.
> Gallstone.
> Constipation.
> Dermatitis, dry eczema, psoriasis, burns, scalds, ichthyosis, dyshidrosis.

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