Olive - Arbequina Seedling
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Arbequina Seedling olive in a pot.
Olea europaea
Olive - Arbequina Seedling

Uses:
Acquired: tbd
How started:
Source: National Germplasm Respository; Davis, CA

A seedling of the Arbequina Olive. I made a special request for fresh olive pits from the national olive collection in Davis, California. It took close to a year to germinate the olive pit. Only one seedling was produced from about 10 pits. I selected Arbequina because it was one of the few olive varieties that survived a severe freeze in a region of Italy where most trees froze to the ground.

The name Arbequina comes from the village of Arbeca in the comarca of the Les Garrigues, where it was first introduced to Europe from Palestine in the seventeenth century by the Duke of Medinaceli. Unlike most varieties, Arbequina has a high germination percentage and that makes rootstocks. Although sold as a table olive, Arbequina olives have one of the highest concentrations of oil [20-22%] and are therefore mostly used for olive oil production. Harvesting is easy since the trees are typically low to the ground and allow for easy hand picking. Oils made from Arbequina are generally buttery, fruity, and very mild in flavor, being low in polyphenols. The combination of low polyphenol levels and high levels of polyunsaturated fat as compared with other olive cultivars means that it has relatively low stability and short shelf-life. I can only hope that my seedling is true to type. With global warming, I may have fresh olives in my landscape one of these days.


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