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Pakistan | Family List | Oleaceae | Olea

Olea europaea Linn., Sp. Pl. 8. 1753. Boiss., Ft. Orient. 4: 36. 1879; subsp. europaea var. sativa Loudon, Arb. Frut. Brit. 2: 1207. 1838; DC., Prodr. 8: 284. 1844.

Trees up to 7 m high, greyish-green; bark grey, on branchlets whitish. Leaves lanceolate, sometimes ovate, c. 4 cm long, 1 cm broad, coriaceous; upper surface dark green, with few scales, ventral silvery-whitish due to scaly hairs; petiole 5 mm. Flowers whitish, in terminal or lateral cymes. Calyx truncate or with 4 little teeth. Corolla tube short; lobes 4, 1-2 mm long. Drupe blackish-violet when ripe, ovoid, 1-2 cm in diam.; pulp oily.

Fl. Per.: April-May. Fruit: September-October.

Type: “Habitat in Europa australi”.

Origin probably in Asia Minor. Cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region, now spread over the subtropical regions of the entire globe. Frequently grafted on Olea ferruginea. Many varieties of the Olive tree have been developed and are grown, for fruit only. The olives yield a highly priced edible oil which can be stored for a couple of months without becoming rancid. Olives as a whole or without stone can be used for pickles. The bitter astringent taste is removed by treatment with sodium hydroxide and salt solutions.

Earlier introductions grew well in Pakistan but gave hardly any fruit, as most of the varieties are self-sterile and no proper pollinator was present. Recently different varieties have been planted together with some proper pollinators, and the results are quite satisfactory. There is hope now that the cultivation of the olive tree will spread all over the northern regions of Pakistan in the near future.


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