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Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.
L'olivo o ulivo (Olea europaea L.) è una pianta da frutto. Originario del Medioriente, è utilizzato fin dall'antichità per l'alimentazione. I suoi frutti, le olive, sono impiegate per l'estrazione dell'olio e, in misura minore, per l'impiego diretto nell'alimentazione. A causa del sapore amaro dovuto al contenuto in polifenoli, l'uso delle olive come frutti nell'alimentazione richiede però trattamenti specifici finalizzati alla deamaricazione (riduzione dei principi amari), realizzata con metodi vari.
Olivo secolare in Puglia
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ulivobitonto.gif
[modifica] Descrizione botanica
L'olivo appartiene alla famiglia delle Oleaceae. La pianta comincia a fruttificare verso il 3º-4º anno, inizia la piena produttività verso il 9º-10º anno; la maturità è raggiunta dopo i 50 anni. È una pianta molto longeva: in condizioni climatiche favorevoli un olivo può vivere anche mille anni. Le radici, per lo più di tipo avventizio, sono molto superficiali ed espanse, in genere non si spingono mai oltre i 60–100 cm di profondità.
Il fusto è cilindrico e contorto, con corteccia di colore grigio o grigio scuro, il legno è molto duro e pesante. La ceppaia forma delle strutture globose, dette ovoli, da cui sono emessi ogni anno numerosi polloni basali. La chioma ha una forma conica, con branche fruttifere pendule o patenti (disposte orizzontalmente rispetto al fusto) secondo la varietà.
È una pianta sempreverde, la cui attività è pressoché continua con attenuazione nel periodo invernale. Le foglie sono opposte, coriacee, semplici, intere, ellittico-lanceolate, con picciolo corto e margine intero, spesso revoluto. La pagina inferiore è di colore bianco-argenteo per la presenza di peli squamiformi. Le gemme sono per lo più di tipo ascellare.
Il fiore è ermafrodito, piccolo, con calice di 4 sepali e corolla di petali bianchi. I fiori sono raggruppati in numero di 10-15 in infiorescenze a grappolo, chiamate mignole, emesse all'ascella delle foglie dei rametti dell'anno precedente. La mignolatura ha inizio verso marzo-aprile. La fioritura vera e propria avviene, secondo le cultivar e le zone, da maggio alla prima metà di giugno.
Il frutto è una drupa globosa, ellissoidale o ovoidale, a volte asimmetrica, del peso di 1-6 grammi secondo la varietà, la tecnica colturale adottata e l'andamento climatico.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Olivenbl%C3%BCte3.jpg
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Olivesfromjordan.jpg
Le informazioni qui riportate hanno solo un fine illustrativo: non costituiscono e non provengono da prescrizione né da consiglio medico. Wikipedia non dà consigli medici: leggi le avvertenze.
Gli estratti di Olea europea, sotto forma di gemmoderivato, tintura madre e, soprattutto, estratto secco titolato e standardizzato delle foglie, hanno evidenziato una discreta attività antidislipidemica, vasodilatatrice e ipotensiva (nelle ipertensioni arteriose borderline), oltre a quella antiflogistica
Inizialmente coltivato quasi esclusivamente nei paesi mediterranei (dove l'inverno è mite e l'estate calda), negli ultimi anni è stato impiantato con successo anche in altri paesi dal clima analogo, come California, Australia, Argentina e Sudafrica. In Italia l'areale di coltivazione è molto ampio: le uniche zone dove non è presente sono le montagne e la Pianura padana (anche se in regioni come Piemonte, Lombardia ed Emilia-Romagna sono in atto progetti di reinserimento), zone con temperature invernali troppo basse o presenza di nebbia e l'area dove produce frutti di qualità è più ristretta e si riduce in pratica all'Italia centromeridionale, (Toscana e Liguria comprese) e insulare e alla zona dei laghi di Lombardia e Veneto. La maggiore concentrazione olivicola italiana, comunque, si trova in Puglia, con una popolazione che è stimata essere superiore ai 5 milioni di alberi. Molti di questi risalgono all'epoca della dominazione spagnola del Seicento. Nella valle del Volturno, in particolare nei comuni di Pozzilli e Venafro si possono osservare tra la miriade di oliveti presenti, numerose piante secolari, non pochi sono gli oliveti composti da sole piante secolari.FONTE
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Koeh-229.jpg
The Olive (pronounced /ˈɑːləv ~ ˈɒlɨv/), Olea europaea, is a species of a small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin (the adjoining coastal areas of southeastern Europe, western Asia and northern Africa) as well as northern Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea. Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the Mediterranean region as the source of olive oil. The tree and its fruit give its name to the plant family, which also includes species such as lilacs, jasmine, Forsythia and the true ash trees (Fraxinus). The word derives from Latin "oliva" which in turn comes from the Greek ἐλαία (elaia) ultimately from Mycenaean Greek e-ra-wa ("elaiva"), attested in Linear B syllabic script. The word 'oil' in multiple languages ultimately derives from the name of this tree and its fruit.
The olive tree is an evergreen tree or shrub native to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa. It is short and squat, and rarely exceeds 8–15 metres (26–49 ft) in height. The silvery green leaves are oblong in shape, measuring 4–10 centimetres (1.6–3.9 in) long and 1–3 centimetres (0.39–1.2 in) wide. The trunk is typically gnarled and twisted.
The small white flowers, with ten-cleft calyx and corolla, two stamens and bifid stigma, are borne generally on the last year's wood, in racemes springing from the axils of the leaves.
The fruit is a small drupe 1–2.5 centimetres (0.39–0.98 in) long, thinner-fleshed and smaller in wild plants than in orchard cultivars. Olives are harvested in the green to purple stage. Canned black olives may contain chemicals (usually ferrous sulfate) that turn them black artificially.
The olive is one of the plants most often cited in literature. In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus crawls beneath two shoots of olive that grow from a single stock, and in the Iliad, (XVII.53ff) is a metaphoric description of a lone olive tree in the mountains, by a spring; the Greeks observed that the olive rarely thrives at a distance from the sea, which in Greece invariably means up mountain slopes. Greek myth attributed to the primordial culture-hero Aristaeus the understanding of olive husbandry, along with cheese-making and bee-keeping. Olive was one of the woods used to fashion the most primitive Greek cult figures, called xoana, referring to their wooden material; they were reverently preserved for centuries. It was purely a matter of local pride that the Athenians claimed that the olive grew first in Athens. In an archaic Athenian foundation myth, Athena won the patronship of Attica from Poseidon with the gift of the olive. Though, according to the 4th-century BC father of botany, Theophrastus, olive trees ordinarily attained an age of about 200 years, he mentions that the very olive tree of Athena still grew on the Acropolis; it was still to be seen there in the 2nd century AD; and when Pausanias was shown it, ca 170 AD, he reported "Legend also says that when the Persians fired Athens the olive was burnt down, but on the very day it was burnt it grew again to the height of two cubits." Indeed, olive suckers sprout readily from the stump, and the great age of some existing olive trees shows that it was perfectly possible that the olive tree of the Acropolis dated to the Bronze Age. The olive was sacred to Athena and appeared on the Athenian coinage.
The Roman poet Horace mentions it in reference to his own diet, which he describes as very simple: "As for me, olives, endives, and smooth mallows provide sustenance." Lord Monboddo comments on the olive in 1779 as one of the foods preferred by the ancients and as one of the most perfect foods.
The leafy branches of the olive tree - the olive leaf as a symbol of abundance, glory and peace - were used to crown the victors of friendly games and bloody wars. As emblems of benediction and purification, they were also ritually offered to deities and powerful figures; some were even found in Tutankhamen's tomb.
Olive oil has long been considered sacred; it was used to anoint kings and athletes in ancient Greece. It was burnt in the sacred lamps of temples as well as being the "eternal flame" of the original Olympic Games. Victors in these games were crowned with its leaves. Today, it is still used in many religious ceremonies.
Over the years, the olive has been the symbol of peace, wisdom, glory, fertility, power and pureness. The olive tree and olives are mentioned over 30 times in the Bible, in both the New and Old Testaments. It is one of the first plants mentioned in the Bible, and one of the most significant. For example, it was an olive leaf that a dove brought back to Noah to demonstrate that the flood was over. The Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem is mentioned several times. The Allegory of the Olive Tree in chapter 5 of the Book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon, refers to the scattering and gathering of Israel. It compares the Israelites and gentiles to tame and wild olive trees. The olive tree itself, as well as olive oil and olives, play an important role in the Bible.
The olive tree and olive oil are mentioned seven times in the Quran, and the olive is praised as a precious fruit. In Chapter 24 Al-Nur: "Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The metaphor of His Light is that of a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp inside a glass, the glass like a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, its oil all but giving off light even if no fire touches it. Light upon Light. Allah guides to His Light whoever He wills and Allah makes metaphors for mankind and Allah has knowledge of all things." (Quran, 24:35). Olive tree and olive oil health benefits have been propounded in Prophetic medicine. The Prophet Mohamed is reported to have said: "Take oil of olive and massage with it - it is a blessed tree" (Sunan al-Darimi, 69:103).
The olive tree is native to the Mediterranean region and Western Asia, and spread to nearby countries from there. It is estimated the cultivation of olive trees began more than 7000 years ago. As far back as 3000 BC, olives were grown commercially in Crete; they may have been the source of the wealth of the Minoan civilization. The ancient Greeks used to smear olive oil on their bodies and hair as a matter of grooming and good health.
Theophrastus, in On the Nature of Plants, does not give as systematic and detailed an account of olive husbandry as he does of the vine, but he makes clear (in 1.16.10) that the cultivated olive must be vegetatively propagated; indeed, the pits give rise to thorny, wild-type olives, spread far and wide by birds. Theophrastus reports how the bearing olive can be grafted on the wild olive, for which the Greeks had a separate name, kotinos.
After the 16th century, the Europeans brought the olive to the New World, and its cultivation began in Mexico, Peru, Chile and Argentina, and then in the 18th century in California. It is estimated that there are about 800 million olive trees in the world today, and the vast majority of these are found in Mediterranean countries.
Old olive trees
Olive trees are very hardy, drought-, disease- and fire-resistant, and can live for a very long time. Its root system is very robust and capable of regenerating the tree even if the above-ground structure is destroyed. The older an olive tree is, the broader and more gnarled its trunk appears. Many olive trees in the groves around the Mediterranean are said to be several centuries old, and in some cases this has been verified scientifically.
An olive tree in Algarve, Portugal, is 2000 years old, according to radiocarbon dating.
Pliny the Elder told of a sacred Greek olive tree that was 1,600 years old. Several trees in the Garden of Gethsemane (from the Hebrew words "gat shemanim" or olive press) in Jerusalem are claimed to date back to the time of Jesus. Some Italian olive trees are believed to date back to Roman times, although identifying progenitor trees in ancient sources is difficult.
One olive tree in Bar, Montenegro, is claimed to be over 2,000 years old.
Also, the age of an olive tree in Crete, claimed to be over 2,000 years old, has been determined on the basis of tree ring analysis. Another well-known olive tree on the island of Brijuni (Brioni), Istria in Croatia, has been calculated to be about 1,600 years old. It still gives fruit (about 30 kg/66 lb per year), which is made into top quality olive oil.
An olive tree in west Athens, named "Plato's Olive Tree", was rumored to be a remnant of the grove within which Plato's Academy was situated, which would date it to approximately 2,400 years ago. The tree was a cavernous trunk from which a few branches were still sprouting in 1975, when a traffic accident caused a bus to fall on and uproot it. Since then the trunk is preserved and displayed in the nearby Agricultural University of Athens. A supposedly even older tree, called the "Peisistratos Tree", is located by the banks of the Cephisus River, in the municipality of Agioi Anargyroi, and is said to be a remnant of an olive grove planted by Athenian tyrant Peisistratos in the 6th century BC.
According to a recent scientific survey, there are dozens of ancient olive trees throughout Israel and Biblical Palestine, 1,600-2,000 years old, from even before the rise of Islam. Specifically, two giant olive trees in the Arab town of Arraba and five trees in Deir Hanna, both in the Galilee region, have been determined to be over 3,000 years old. All seven trees continue to produce olives. The information above, regarding the age of olive trees in Israel must be considered carefully, as there is no credible scientific attribution to the survey or the estimate of 3000 years for the Arraba or Deir Hanna trees.
A tree located in Santu Baltolu di Carana (municipality of Luras) in Sardinia, Italy, named with respect as the Ozzastru by the inhabitants of the region, is claimed to be 3,000 to 4,000 years old according to different studies. In the same natural garden, a few other millenary trees can be admired.
 Cultivation and uses
The olive tree has been cultivated for olive oil, fine wood, olive leaf, and the olive fruit. The earliest evidence for the domestication of olives comes from the Chalcolithic Period archaeological site of Teleilat Ghassul in what is today modern Jordan.
Farmers in ancient times believed olive trees would not grow well if planted more than a short distance from the sea; Theophrastus gives 300 stadia (55.6 km/34.5 mi) as the limit. Modern experience does not always confirm this, and, though showing a preference for the coast, it has long been grown further inland in some areas with suitable climates, particularly in the southwestern Mediterranean (Iberia, northwest Africa) where winters are mild.
Olives are now cultivated in many regions of the world with Mediterranean climates, such as South Africa, Chile, Peru, Australia, the Mediterranean Basin, Israel, Palestinian Territories and California and in areas with temperate climates such as New Zealand, under irrigation in the Cuyo region in Argentina which has a desert climate. They are also grown in the Córdoba Province, Argentina, which has a temperate climate with rainy summers and dry winters (Cwa). The climate in Argentina changes the external characteristics of the plant but the fruit keeps its original features.
Considerable research supports the health-giving benefits of consuming olives, olive leaf and olive oil (see external links below for research results). Olive leaves are used in medicinal teas.
Olives are now being looked at for use as a renewable energy source, using waste produced from the olive plants as an energy source that produces 2.5 times the energy generated by burning the same amount of wood. The same reference claims that the smoke released has no negative impact on neighbors or the environment, and the ash left in the stove can be used for fertilizing gardens and plants. The process has been patented in the Middle East and the US (for example).
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Olive_trees_on_Thassos.JPG
Olive tree “Olea europea” on Bar, Montenegro which is over 2,000 years old
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Olea_europea_3.jpg