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European OliveOlea europaea

  • Northern Red Oak - Quercus rubra
  • European Olive Tree
  • European Olive Tree
  • European Olive Tree
Long-lived trees, olives are planted extensively in Arizona and California as ornamentals. When young, they often require staking and regular yearly pruning. The plant is used in western landscapes.

Hardiness Zones

The european olive can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 9–11. View Map

Tree Type

This tree is considered an evergreen tree, a flowering tree and an ornamental tree. It keeps its foliage year-round, blooms in a profusion of spring flowers and adds visual interest and beauty to landscaping.

Mature Size

The European olive grows to a height of 30–40' and a spread of 30–40' at maturity.

Growth Speed Slow Growth Rate

This tree grows at a slow rate, with height increases of less than 12" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The European olive grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy and well-drained soils. It tolerates dry conditions.


This tree:
  • Yields green to black olives that are ½" in diameter and can be cured for eating or pressed for oil once ripe. (Unprocessed olives are inedible.)
  • Produces small white blooms in loose clusters in the spring.
  • Tolerates heat, wind and dry conditions well.
  • Features lance-shaped dark green leaves that change very little in the fall and persist year-round.
  • Grows in a rounded, spreading or horizontal shape.
  • Relies on wind for pollination.
  • Often requires staking and regular yearly pruning.

Wildlife Value

Insects attracted by to European olive also become food for birds and reptiles. Animals seek shelter and protection from predators and the elements in the tree. Birds also use it for nesting.


The olive branch is the symbol for peace. This tree dates back nearly 3,700 years, and its oil is the mainstay of the healthy Mediterranean diet.