This 3,000-Year-Old Olive Tree Is Still Growing Strong, Producing Fruits To This Day

This 3,000-Year-Old Olive Tree Is Still Growing Strong, Producing Fruits To This Day

The oldest olive tree in the world is located on the island of Crete, Greece and is said to be over 3,000 years old. The tree still continues to produce fruit and shows no sign of withering.

Olive trees have long been considered a symbol of immortality, dating back to the ancient ages. There is one particular olive tree in Ano Vouves on the island of Crete in Greece which is over 3,000 years old.

This grandmaster of a tree, known as the Olive Tree of Vouves, has been providing olives for the native residents for 3 millennia and still shows no signs of dying or withering away. The local inhabitants of Ano Vouves continue to make olive oil from the fruit of this tree. 



Scientists from the University of Crete estimate it to be closer to 4,000 years old, but the sign at the site of the tree declares it to be just about 3,000 years old.  Two cemeteries from the Geometric Art period (back when geometric motifs in vases were all the rage) were found not too far from the tree and might give us some clues as to how old the tree is.

The Geometric Art period lasted from 1100 to 800 B.C., which means the tree was likely planted between those years. It is theorized that the tree was a “centerpiece” for the cemeteries.  





An olive tree can reach up to and sometimes over 40 feet tall at maturity, spreading out with a large rounded crown. The crown of leaves can spread outward as far as 20 feet from the trunk, making the spread of the olive tree as wide as it is tall. The trunk of the Olive Tree of Vouves is more than 40 feet in circumference and has a diameter of 15 feet.

The trunk of the tree is twisted around itself, with tufts of green leaves shooting towards the sky. The national administration of Greece has also confirmed that the branches of the tree were used to create wreaths for the winners of the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. 



Olive trees are drought-resistant, fire-resistant and disease-resistant, which is part of the reason for their longevity and widespread use in the Mediterranean. The Olive Tree of Vouves isn’t the only ancient olive tree still standing. There are at least ten more monumental olive trees in this area, namely the same number of trees as in the whole of Crete.

This fact testifies to the long-standing relationship between the residents of this area with the olive tree that dates back to antiquity. The Olive Tree of Vouves became a protected natural monument in 1997, and a museum containing traditional tools of olive cultivation was set up in 2009. According to the museum, over 20,000 people visit the tree each and every year. 



Olive trees need a subtropical climate and do best with mild winters and long, warm, and dry summers. They are sensitive to hard freezing environments. The olive tree, fully grown, reaches heights of 40 feet with a canopy 15 feet wide. Take into consideration that the roots will extend even farther out than the crown of the tree.

Planted too close to a structure, the roots can damage the foundation. Olive trees require well-drained soil and a sunny position. Avoid sites where water stands during rainy periods or where groundwater seeps into a hole two feet deep. Do not, however, confuse the olive for a desert plant. It needs regular watering to thrive.



The best time to start growing olive trees in containers is spring after all the threat of frost has passed. Olive trees like extremely well-draining, rocky soil. You can easily plant your seeds in a mix of potting soil and perlite or small rocks. Then you can bring your container-grown olive trees indoors before temperatures fall toward freezing when Winter comes.

The olive tree is also noteworthy for growing in poor soil and extremely rocky environments. Olives are generally considered "self-fertile," meaning they do not require the pollen of another tree in order to set fruit. Olive trees are slow-growing, so require little pruning and are very low maintenance.

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