Monday, 2 May 2011

Olea europaea farga

There's a Spanish saying, "Malas hierbas nunca mueren," meaning that weeds never die. It seems that this might also apply to olive trees.

Close to us is the Hotel La Laguna and in the small gardens of that hotel is this magnificent, ancient specimen of Olea europaea farga. This sort of tree is prized for its small brownish-blackish olives, which produce excellent oil. Who knows how many people, not to mention birds and so on, have profited from the produce of this venerable being?

The wooden plaque at the base of the tree indicates its Latin name (sadly misspelt) and tells us that it originates from the old Roman Road in Teruel, which is some 400 Km from the tree's current location. Not only is this a well-travelled tree, it is also one of remarkable longevity, for the plaque further informs us that its age is between 1500 and 1800 years!

Just imagine, the tree was some 200 years old when the Moors invaded Spain and it saw their conquest of that country, with all its associated advances, followed by the later overrunning by the Catholic hordes. It was already at least 500 years old when the Normans invaded Britain, and some 1,000 years old when Columbus came across the Americas.

Now it looks absolutely wonderful for its age and one can only hope that it will outlive many more generations of paltry humans.

No comments:

Post a Comment