The olive tree is one of the symbols of the Mediterranean and one of the region's oldest and most important crops. Selected by man from wild varieties, it was, like the vine, a highly prized plant in the Greek and Roman civilizations. It occurs almost throughout the country in mainland Portugal, but it does not like altitude and high humidity.
It is extremely resistant to all aggressions and almost indestructible (I have an olive tree that a few years ago was hit by lightning during a thunderstorm; it was severely burned, but today it is in good health and produces lots of olives). However, it only produces abundant oil and olives if regularly pruned and fertilized.
It likes limestone soils, where I found this beautiful specimen a few days ago, on a magnificent full moon rising on the horizon, on a late autumn afternoon. A small, young, well-treated tree on the edge of a rustic path appeared to my eyes as the repository of two thousand years of modification of Nature by man to his advantage.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor