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Wisdom | by Alda Cravo Al-Saude
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Wisdom

Olive tree. Almeirim, Portugal

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The olive tree, Olea europaea, is very hardy: drought-, disease- and fire-resistant, it can live to a great age. Its root system is 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 hundreds of years old, while an age of 2,000 years is claimed for a number of individual trees; in some cases, this has been scientifically verified.

Pliny the Elder told about a sacred Greek olive tree that was 1,600 years old. An olive tree in west Athens, named "Plato's Olive Tree", was said[by whom?] to be a remnant of the grove within which Plato's Academy was situated, which would make it approximately 2,400 years old. The tree comprised 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 has been preserved and displayed in the nearby Agricultural University of Athens. A supposedly older tree, the "Peisistratos Tree", is located by the banks of the Cephisus[disambiguation needed ] River, in the municipality of Agioi Anargyroi, and is said to be a remnant of an olive grove that was planted by Athenian tyrant Peisistratos in the 6th century BC. Numerous ancient olive trees also exist near Pelion in Greece.

An olive tree in Algarve, Portugal, is 2000 years old, according to radiocarbon dating.

The age of an olive tree in Crete, claimed to be over 2,000 years old, has been confirmed on the basis of tree ring analysis.

An olive tree in Bar, Montenegro, is claimed to be over 2,000 years old.

An 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.

The town of Bshaale, Lebanon claims to have the oldest olive trees in the world (4000 BC for the oldest), but no scientific study supports these claims. Other trees in the towns of Amioun appear to be at least 1,500 years old.

According to a recent scientific survey, there are dozens of ancient olive trees throughout Israel and Biblical Palestine, 1,600–2,000 years old. Ancient trees include two giant olive trees in the Arab town of Arraba and five trees in Deir Hanna, both in the Galilee region, which have been determined to be over 3,000 years old, although the credibility of the study that produced these dates has been questioned.[citation needed] All seven trees continue to produce olives.

 

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.

 

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Taken on January 16, 2012