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Centuries-old wild olive trees

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Olea europaea var. sylvestris (Oleaceae)

In Sardinia, there are some centuries-old olive trees and one of them is the “patriarch” or “s’Ozzastru”: this specimen is about 4.000-year-old and is probably one of the oldest trees in the world and the most long-lived in Europe.

“s’Ozzastru” measures 36.6 ft in circumference, it’s 46-ft tall and its foliage covers an area of about 718 square yards. It’s in good health and has been recently fenced for protection against some senseless people who, unfortunately, have recently committed wanton acts of vandalism.

In the past, the local residents use to celebrate masses in honour of St. Julian under the branches of this large olive tree; nowadays they can do so not far away from it.

There are several legends related to this “patriarch”: for instance, one goes about some large bees guarding a treasure hidden under the tree: the actual booty of the local bandit scourge between 1700 and 1800, which was later found and removed by the farmers. Another popular tale is that about a boy who dreamed of his deceased grandfather whispering to him: “Take a hundred steps north from the church of Santu Bartolu…”. The boy followed his dad’s directions and found a treasure hidden under this very tree!

Next to the patriarch, grows another smaller, younger but still noteworthy olive tree: it’s a 2.500-year-old specimen with a trunk circumference of 26.9 ft.

How to get there:

From the municipality of Luras (SS), reach the church of Santu Bartolu di Carana and the access to the area with the centuries-old trees.

Botanical Card

Olea europaea

The olive tree is a very long-lived evergreen species; its cultivation is native to the Middle East and then spread throughout the Mediterranean basin.

The species is thermophilic and heliophilic, it prefers dry and arid environments and climates, while it is quite sensitive to low temperatures.

It prefers loose, coarse and shallow soils with outcropping rockiness. It tolerates salt quite well, so it can also grow along a coastline.
The ideal growing altitude ranges between the sea level and 2.952 ft.

The species is edible and cultivated for the fresh consumption of its fruits, as well as for the production of oil. The latter has several beneficial features, as a regular consumption can reduce the risk of circulatory disorders and hyperacidity. The flavour of the oil depends on every single variety, the processing technique and the time of harvesting.

The olive tree wood is very hard and smooth; it is used for floors and fine cabinetry and inlays – it also serves as very good fuel.

Photo source:

http://www.patriarchinatura.it/contenuti/it/patriarchi_regione/sardegna.php

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Contatti

07025 Luras(SS)

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