Olive trees 500 years and up
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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.
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.