A lot has been said about olives and most of it has to do with extra virginity.
So imagine my surprise to learn that olive trees get intimate and are either male or female.
So how does one distinguish the machos from the maidens? First of all the male trees are bigger, stronger, have more vegetation and are a darker shade of green; the females are slimmer and more silvery in color. (does this sound familiar?) The shape of their fruit is also revealing: the male olives are longer and pointy whereas the females are more rotund. (hmmm…)
The correct proportion of males to females is one in ten (which doesn’t seem fair) but then pollination occurs by means of the wind.
This discovery has left me very upset. Is there nothing sacred anymore? My perception of olive groves has been shattered! Just imagine: those wise, ancient, dignified and austere beings – are actually having an orgy!
(After this article was published on Italian Notebook I received an email from a reader who, in an effort to calm me down, thought he’d better send me THE FACTS about olives. Many varieties of trees are actually self-pollinating (are you thinking what I’m thinking?) However, I have heard the male/female version so many times from local oil producers here in Campania, that I’m assuming ours must be the latin lover variety!)