Olive (Olea) seed germination is a process in which the seed absorbs water and begins to develop a root and a leaf. This occurs when the seed is exposed to suitable environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity and light.


The best time to plant olive trees depends on the geographical area where the planting is to take place. In the north of Spain, for example, the best time to plant olive trees is between March and April. In the south, the best time to plant olive trees is between September and October. In areas with warmer climates, such as the Mediterranean, olive trees can be planted all year round.


The land for olive trees should be well located, at an altitude of no less than 500 metres, with good exposure to the sun and a good level of humidity. It should be free of weeds, with good drainage and good soil quality. The soil must be deep and sufficiently resistant to withstand cycles of drought and excess water. In addition, the soil should be protected from strong winds and have a good water supply for irrigation, either from an aquifer or from a water source such as a dam or river. Good soil preparation prior to planting is also very important. This includes removing weeds, thinning the soil to improve water absorption, and incorporating nutrients and compost into the soil.


The optimum temperature for planting olive trees is between 10°C and 25°C. These temperatures are adequate to keep the trees healthy and allow them to thrive. The ideal temperature for most varieties of olive trees is around 20°C. If temperatures extend for too long below 10°C, the trees will begin to suffer.


Seed drying: Seed drying is necessary to allow the germination process to take place. This is done by leaving the seed at room temperature for a few days to allow it to lose some of its water.
Seed hydration: Once dried, the seed must be hydrated to start the germination process. This can be done by soaking the seed in water for a few hours until it softens.
Sowing: Once the seed has been hydrated, it is ready for planting. This is done by placing the seed in a pot or planting box and covering it with soil or compost.
Temperature and light regulation: It is important to keep the temperature and light at a suitable level for the germination process to take place. The optimum temperature for olive tree germination is between 18-21°C. Light is also important for the seed to germinate, so it is advisable to keep the seed exposed to indirect light.
Watering: Watering is essential to ensure that the soil is moist so that the seed will germinate. Watering should be frequent, but not excessive, to avoid waterlogging.
Germination: Once all conditions are in place, the seed should germinate within a few days. When germinated, the seed will produce a small plant with green leaves. The germination process is complete and the plant is ready to be transplanted to its final location.


The flowering of the olive tree usually takes place during the months of April and May. This flowering is characterised by the appearance of numerous small, aromatic, white flowers, which are grouped in inflorescences. These flowers produce a sweet, aromatic nectar that attracts bees to carry out the pollination process. Once the flowering has passed, the fruits of the olive tree will begin to ripen, leading to the production of oil.

Imagen olivar en fase floración


The second-tier cooperative Oleoestepa, a leading producer of high-quality extra virgin olive oil, has opened the doors of its new olive oil cellar to more than 1,600 people, in the presence of Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, President of the Junta de Andalucía, among other authorities.

During this open day, the guests were able to walk around the almost eight thousand square metres that make up the new Oleoestepa facilities, which have involved an investment of 7.5 million euros, and have two rooms: a warehouse space that complements the current bottling plant, and the cellar, where the drums have been installed to store up to fifteen thousand tons of olive oil.

The President of the Andalusian Regional Government, Mr Juan Manuel Moreno, accompanied by the Andalusian Government Delegate in Seville, Mr Ricardo Sánchez, and the Secretary General for Agriculture, Livestock and Food, Ms Consolación Vera, among other authorities, attended the meeting, where they were given a detailed technical explanation by the President of Oleoestepa, Mr Jesús Juárez, and the Managing Director of the company, Mr Álvaro Olavarría.

Mr. Jorge Muriel Mayor of Herrera, Mr. Juan Manuel Moreno President of the Junta de Andalucía,
Mr. Jesús Juárez President of Oleoestepa and Mr. Álvaro Olavarría Managing Director of Oleoestepa.

At the end of the visit, the President of the Andalusian Regional Government addressed all those present, emphasising the pride of the Andalusian Government, thanks to the work of the cooperatives and members of Oleoestepa, in making extra virgin olive oil of the highest quality available to Spanish and world society.

Mr. Juan Manuel Moreno President of the Junta de Andalucía, in his speech to the 1,600 attendees.

The new winery is located in Herrera (Seville), a municipality very close to where Oleoestepa’s bottling plant and headquarters are located, in the neighbouring town of Estepa (Seville). With the expected increase in olive oil production from its 19 associated mills in the short and medium term, once the current drought cycle is overcome, and thanks to the actions of conversion and modernisation of the olive groves, Oleoestepa’s annual production potential is expected to be close to seventy thousand tonnes of olive oil, which is why the decision was taken to invest in an infrastructure of this magnitude. “This new business initiative will allow us to boost our bottling capacity and, in addition, to self-regulate high production campaigns”, the company’s managing director, Álvaro Olavarría, pointed out, noting that “this equipment is accompanied by highly trained human resources who are up to date with the latest technology in machinery and laboratories”. This new investment comes at a time when Oleoestepa is present on practically every continent. “Andalusia is the leader in olive oil production in the world, so talking about Andalusia opens many doors for our olive oils”, emphasised Álvaro Olavarría, who affirms that “today our international trade represents between 35 and 50%” of the company’s turnover.

Lourdes Blanco Páez

Administration Manager of the Sor Ángela de la Cruz cooperative in Estepa (Seville).

After completing her university studies in labor relations and some work experience, she had the opportunity to work in this cooperative during the olive harvest campaign in November 2001, performing administrative functions. “And what was going to be a one-time support job became the beginning of my professional life and the link with the cooperative for the rest of my life,” Lourdes tells us.

During the more than 20 years she has been working at the cooperative, she has seen many changes, “everything has changed at a technological level, even the building is not what it used to be”, she tells us. All these changes have meant a very significant improvement in the management of the cooperative and member services. “When I started we didn’t use the Internet and now we even have a communication platform with the member; now everything is easier, faster and more effective, but it requires continuous training and constant renovation” confesses Lourdes.

Although her position is linked to the administration of the cooperative, her work is broader, “in the cooperative we have to be very versatile, so that we can lend a hand to any colleague in times of great task”.

When she started working in the cooperative, she was the first woman in an all-male space. Fortunately, over the years, the presence of women has grown significantly in all areas: technical advice, olive mill and administration.

However, from her point of view, the fact of being a woman has never been a handicap in her professional development in the management of the cooperative. “I always had the doors open to continue training or to take any course or activity to improve my work. And when I became a mother, I was also able to reconcile my professional and family life,” says Lourdes. Lourdes was less reluctant to deal with the members, especially the older members, but even so it was not very significant, since most of them she already knew from being neighbors of Estepa and from her previous job.

At present Lourdes considers that women are well represented in all areas of this cooperative, “even in the governing council we already have a female member, and we hope that this will be a stimulus for the incorporation of more women to the main governing body of the cooperative,” says Lourdes.

With a view to the new generations, Lourdes advises young people to get training, whether they want to run farms or work in production, “everything is becoming more and more computerized and mechanized, so they have to have a specialization, but fortunately with this cooperative project in the region there is a future”.

You can see all the stories of cooperative women: https://bit.ly/31YYKY7

Current olive harvesting methods have changed greatly in recent years. The incorporation of new machinery has facilitated the work of harvesting, allowing a greater quantity of fruit to be obtained in less time.

This increase in productivity not only depends on the machinery, but also on the relief of the land where the olive grove is located and the type of plantation. The following is a summary of the main current harvesting methods used to obtain the different varieties of olive oil.

The olives are harvested annually and must be harvested at the moment of optimum ripeness so that the best juice, extra virgin olive oil, can be obtained.

It is ideal to harvest early, that is, when the olives are in veraison (between green and purple). It is then, if it is not affected by pests, when it offers its best organoleptic properties, when its fruity attributes are more accentuated.

This ideal moment is also influenced by weather conditions, and harvesting can be significantly delayed by a period of rain or high temperatures, which prevent cold extraction of the olive oil, which is essential to maintain its organoleptic properties.

Once everything is ready, the harvesting activity arrives to the olive grove and can be carried out in the following way.


Traditional method for the harvesting of olives destined for table olives. They use ladders to access all parts of the olive tree and harvest the fruit manually with the help of bags hanging from the shoulder, called “macacos”. Although the olives are harvested with minimal damage, it is a slow and labor-intensive process. In a very marginal way, this tool is also used to produce extra virgin olive oil in small and family-run olive groves.


This is the traditional method of harvesting olives for olive oil, and is still the best known and most widely practiced today. On a mesh, canvas or large cloth that covers the entire surface of the olive tree, the harvesters hit the different branches with a stick or long stick, causing the olives to fall on the canvas.

In the past, these sticks were made of wood, but the invention of new materials such as fiberglass has significantly reduced their weight and, consequently, greatly facilitated this work.

Although this system is faster than the previous one, it is necessary to know how to do it because otherwise there is a risk of damaging the olive tree.

Once the olive tree has been trimmed, other harvesters collect the canvas with the olives and place them in a basket pulled by a tractor, which will take them to a larger trailer on the edge of the olive grove waiting to be filled and taken to the mill.

Mechanical harvester

The system is similar to the previous one in terms of the use of canvases or meshes on the ground covering the olive grove, with the only difference in the harvesting tool. In this case they are mechanical type harvesters in the form of a rake or comb, which thanks to its electric or gasoline engine, is introduced into the branches of the olive trees achieving easier and faster the fall of the olives on the canvas.

In addition to the greater speed, it is lighter than the stick, making the task easier for the harvester.

Mechanical trunk vibrator

This method of mechanized harvesting consists of the use of a clamp articulated by a tractor that embraces the trunk of the tree and shakes it for several seconds, causing the olives to be released from the branches.

This system is usually a complement to the mechanical shakers that make a quick review of all the branches of each olive tree, thus guaranteeing a complete harvesting of the olives.

Mechanical trunk shaker with umbrella

This system is a variation of the previous one, since an inverted canvas is incorporated to the clamp that completely surrounds the olive tree, recovering the fruit without it even touching the ground, passing to its unloading in a trailer or truck for its subsequent transfer to the oil mill.

This type of harvesting is used in plantations with no or little slope, and with single or two-foot olive trees, both traditional and intensive. The cost is lower than in completely manual harvesting and quite efficient in terms of the percentage of detachment, also achieving an optimization of fruit delivery, both in time and in freshness and blemishes.

However, the efficiency of this system is very much determined by the variety of olive grove, since not all varieties of olives detach easily. The incorporation of this machinery makes this system common in large farms or farms managed by agricultural companies.


This is the usual system in super-intensive plantations, where the olive trees are placed in continuous rows in the form of a hedge, which allows the use of automatic inverted u-shaped harvesters, capable of carrying out a complete mechanized harvest without the need for manual labor, since the olives are placed directly in trailers by means of conveyors.

It represents a very important saving in harvesting costs, but its application is limited to this type of plantations and to specific varieties.

How it is harvested in Oleoestepa

In the more than 70,000 hectares of land that make up the 19 associated olive mills, there is a forest of millions of olive trees. It is a large area with very diverse orography, availability of irrigation and size of plantations, key factors in determining the most efficient harvesting system.

However, there is a common link: the commitment to environmentally sustainable cultivation, obtaining a healthy fruit, harvesting it at the optimum moment of ripeness, at veraison, and delivering it as quickly as possible to the associated mills, where the latest technology awaits to optimally extract its juice.

Carmen Mª Rubio Linares

Accounting at the associated cooperative Agrícola La Roda (Seville).

Although her beginnings in the cooperative were not very stable, “with a temporary contract of practices just finished the career” says Carmen Maria, her desire to learn and contribute to the development of the cooperative have made more than 12 years that she has been performing tasks of administration and accounting.

This sector has always attracted her attention since her childhood has been closely linked to the countryside. “There are several generations in my family linked to agriculture, so we know what it is like to work the land,” he confesses.

Looking back, he emphasizes how the modernization and incorporation of the latest management technology has greatly facilitated the tasks in the administrative area, also allowing to do it faster. If we also add the continuous changes in regulations, “we find ourselves in a job that requires us to be always up to date”.

In spite of being a sector that is mostly men, even more so when she started, she has always felt like one of the others, without distinctions. “I have learned and continue to learn from my colleagues, just as they have learned from me. We are a great team in this cooperative,” confesses Carmen María.

Although she sees more and more women at the head of farms, as managers, olive weighers, oil mill managers, laboratory managers, etc., she believes that women still have a long way to go in the governance of cooperatives. In fact, she tells us that at the last General Assembly of members the female presence was 5%. In spite of this, her vision is optimistic, hoping to see soon an active participation of women in the Assemblies and the Governing Council of the cooperative”, says Carmen María with hope.

She recommends the new generations not to lose their enthusiasm and to enjoy this sector. Although from the outside it may seem the opposite, the rural and cooperative world is very dynamic and demands to be up to date. “I know that young people are impulsive, but you have to be patient and learn from each day, in fact, each campaign is a new course from which you always learn something,” she confesses.

Since she was a child she has been closely linked to the harvesting of the fruit, so she knew perfectly well what happened from the time the olives germinated and ripened until they were taken to the cooperative. But what was truly amazing for Carmen was to discover the next step, how the olives entered the mill and ended up producing the liquid gold.

Among her personal experiences, she highlights the impression she had (and continues to have campaign after campaign) with the first aromas given off by the conveyor belts transporting freshly harvested olives in the unloading area, “the smells of fig leaves, tomato, fresh grass, etc. come together. What surprised him the most was to be able to differentiate all the fruity nuances in an olive”.

You can see all the stories of cooperative women: https://bit.ly/31YYKY7

What is a Protected Designation of Origin for olive oil?

Before explaining what a Protected Designation of Origin is, we must explain its origin and the reason for its existence. In the European Union there is a great wealth and variety of food products. When a product acquires a certain reputation, it may be subject to usurpations and imitations. This unfair competition not only has a negative impact on producers but also on consumers in the form of fraud.

For this reason, quality regimes known as PDO, PGI and TSG (Protected Designation of Origin, Protected Geographical Indication and Traditional Specialty Guaranteed) exist to protect agricultural products and foodstuffs.

The PDO/PGI regime helps producers of products linked to a geographical area in three different ways. First, it ensures fair remuneration for the qualities of their products. Secondly, it guarantees the names of these products, as intellectual property rights, uniform protection throughout the European Union. And finally, it provides consumers with clear information on the properties that give added value to these products.

In short, these designations cover products that are protected by European Union regulations that guarantee compliance with higher requirements than those demanded for other products.

The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is the name of a district or region, a specific place and sometimes even a country, with which an agri-food product is designated and which must meet the following requirements:

– To be originating from that territory, both the production of its raw material and its production or transformation.

– To have a quality or characteristics that are fundamentally or exclusively due to the geographical environment with its natural and human factors.

– A public entity regulates and monitors compliance with the standards.


Are there other quality seals recognized by the EU ?

In addition to the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), the European Union recognizes two other quality seals with these peculiarities.

Products with a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) have a specific quality that can be attributed to a geographical origin and whose production or processing is carried out in the defined geographical area from which it takes its name.

Traditional Specialties Guaranteed (TSG) are products with specific features that differentiate them from other foods in the same category, and are produced from traditional raw materials, or have a traditional composition, production method or processing.

What legal rights do these quality seals have?

As they are registered by the European Union, both the Protected Designation of Origin and the Protected Geographical Indication have the following Intellectual Property rights against:

Any direct or indirect commercial use of a registered name on products not covered by the registration, when such products are comparable to products registered under that name or when the use of the name takes advantage of the reputation of the protected name, even when such products are used as ingredients.

Any misuse, imitation or evocation, even if the true origin of the products or services is indicated or if the protected name is translated or accompanied by expressions such as “style”, “type”, “method”, “produced as in”, “imitation” or similar expressions; even when such products are used as ingredients.

Any other type of false or misleading indication as to the provenance, origin, nature or essential characteristics of the products, used on the container or packaging, in advertising or in documents relating to the products in question, as well as the use of containers which by their characteristics may create an erroneous impression as to their origin.

Any other practice that may mislead the consumer as to the true origin of the product.

In the case of the Traditional Specialty Guaranteed seal, although it does not enjoy Intellectual Property rights, they are protected against any improper use, imitation or evocation and against any other practice that may mislead the consumer.

How are these seals recognized?

The labeling of certified agri-food products may include the symbol of the European Union associated with it next to the registered name of the product, and must appear in the same visual field.

The terms “Protected Designation of Origin”, “Protected Geographical Indication” or “Traditional Speciality Guaranteed”, or the corresponding abbreviations “PDO”, “PGI” or “TSG” may appear on the labeling of agri-food products.

What are the differences between a PDO and a PGI?

There are two fundamental differences:

– In a PDO product all the production stages are carried out in the defined geographical area, whereas in a PGI product only one of the stages needs to be carried out in the same geographical area.

– In a PDO product the link between the characteristics of the product and the geographical area in which it is produced is stronger than in a PGI product, since the characteristics of the PDO product are fundamentally or exclusively due to the geographical area, whereas in a PGI product only one quality, reputation or characteristic needs to be due to the geographical area.

For example, the entire process of elaboration of the extra virgin olive oil of the Denomination of Origin Estepa is carried out in this region, from the collection of the olives from its olive groves through its milling and packaging. In the case of the Protected Geographical Indication Mantecados de Estepa, the production of the mantecado is regulated, indicating the geographical area and the quantities to be used, although it is not obligatory for the ingredients to be grown and processed in the producing area.

What are the differences between a PDO or PGI and a TSG?

There are three fundamental differences between a PDO/PGI and a TSG:

– A PDO/PGI protects a name that identifies a product originating from a specific place, while a TSG protects production methods and traditional recipes.

– In a PDO/PGI product, the specificity is due to the origin of the product, while in a TSG it is due to the traditional character.

– PDOs/PGIs constitute a right to intellectual property, while TSGs do not grant a right to intellectual property but the right to incorporate the indication “Traditional Specialty Guaranteed” on the label of the product.

Is a Denomination of Origin (DO) the same as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)?

Yes, it is. Before Spain joined the European Union, there was only the term “Denomination of Origin”. However, since 2009 the term “Denomination of Origin” can no longer be used, but only “Protected Designation of Origin”. It is the Order of January 25, 1994 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, which specifies the correspondence between Spanish and Community legislation in this matter, establishing the equivalence between “Denomination of Origin” and “Protected Designation of Origin”.

How many Protected Designations of Origin are there in Spain?

In Spain there are 68 PDOs for wine and 66 other figures of differentiated quality for other types of this product, 21 designations of origin for fresh meats, 8 for hams, 9 for sausages, 29 for cheeses, 7 for honey, 2 for butter, 19 for fruits and 24 for vegetables. Spain has 29 designations of origin for extra virgin olive oil and one Protected Geographical Indication, Aceites de Jaén. In Andalusia there are 12 protected designations of origin for extra virgin olive oil.

In the case of extra virgin olive oil, each Designation of Origin differs from the others by its geographical area, the varieties of olives used to produce its oils and its sensory characteristics.

A Protected Designation of Origin has many characteristics similar to a Protected Geographical Indication, such as the fact that they are related to a specific place and that there is a link with it. But they differ in that in a PDO product all the production phases are carried out in the defined geographical area, while in a PGI only one phase is required, and that a PDO product has a stronger link between the characteristics of the product and the geographical area in which it is produced than a PGI product.

In short, a Protected Designation of Origin is the strongest proof of the quality of a product and its link to a territory, in which, as in the case of the region of Estepa, EVOO is more than a product, it is a way of life for more than 7000 families who live there and an industrial and business fabric that supports and develops it.

What is the Protected Designation of Origin that covers Oleoestepa oils?

The Denomination of Origin Estepa certifies unique extra virgin olive oils. The territory, the climate, the way we take care of our olive trees and the way we elaborate our oils have made our “olive juice” to be recognized worldwide.

Its functions are to control and guarantee the quality of the extra virgin olive oils produced in its territory and to promote them nationally and internationally through numerous initiatives.

The Regulatory Council establishes in its Regulations the most demanding quality standard to protect extra virgin olive oils, supported especially in the sensory analysis, guaranteeing this high quality until the date of preferential consumption.

The notoriety achieved by the Region of Estepa and Puente Genil is thanks to the combination of factors such as the varieties of olive trees, climate, soil and know-how of its people, which make their extra virgin olive oils unique, and therefore since 2004 they have the Recognition and Protection of the National and Community authorities through the Protected Designation of Origin Estepa.


How can I identify if an olive oil has a Protected Designation of Origin?

It is very easy to identify a PDO on the packaging, since the product normally has a numbered back label where the denomination of origin to which it belongs is perfectly described. This numbered back label is granted by the Regulatory Council, the body that manages a PDO, to the products of the brands that have successfully passed all the quality controls.

In the example of the image we see a back label of an extra virgin olive oil of Oleoestepa, brand protected by the Denomination of Origin Estepa, where you can see perfectly the seal of the PDO Estepa and its corresponding numbering.

Although there is complete freedom to use an extra virgin olive oil of any variety, here the taste of each one rules, there are indeed recommendations for use in the kitchen according to its organoleptic properties.

The first thing to point out is that above these recommendations is the taste of each person. There are people who like dressings with more nuanced flavors in salads, as is the case of arbequina variety oils, while others prefer the more spicy and bitter aromas of extra virgin olive oil of the picual or hojiblanca varieties.


  • Preparation: salads, Andalusian fried foods, fried potatoes, breaded and battered, slow stews, canned raw or cooked foods (cheeses, cured meats…).
  • Uses: salads, fried foods, meat and game marinades, canned vegetables.
  • Recommended techniques: raw, long frying, casseroles.


  • Preparation: mayonnaise, alioli, vinaigrettes, strong fish marinades, hot and cold creams, pastas, stir-fries, canned vegetables.
  • Uses: mild salads, marinades for meats and blue fish, intense emulsions.
  • Recommended techniques: raw, preserves


  • Preparation: fried, salpicón, ceviche, sautéed meats, mollusks, baked potatoes, pizza dough, empanada, churros, doughnuts
  • Uses: salads, light fried foods, bakery doughs
  • Recommended techniques: raw, short fried foods, sautéed foods.


  • Preparation: mayonnaise, aioli, vinaigrettes, anchovies in vinegar, marinated salmon, seafood carpaccio, gazpachos and salmorejos, sautéed fish.
  • Uses: mild marinades, sauces, cold creams, pastry doughs.
  • Recommended techniques: raw, pastry


We insist, these are the recommended uses. However, ideally, you should not limit yourself to this rule. Experiment and play with flavors, trying the same dish with different varieties to find your perfect combination.

When buying olive oil in the store, we usually find labels with the denomination of an olive variety with which the extra virgin olive oil has been made. There are many doubts that customers transmit to us about the organoleptic and pairing peculiarities of each one of them.

We will try to answer your questions in the following article.


What are the main olive varieties?

More than 200 varieties of olives are grown in Spain. Each of them brings unique flavors and aromas. Each of them has different flavor and aroma characteristics. Here are the main varieties.


  • It is the predominant variety in the planet and in the Iberian Peninsula.
  • It is located in the provinces of Jaén, Córdoba and Granada.
  • It is an elongated, medium-sized olive with a beak in the center.
  • EVOO is characterized by herbaceous aromas and bitterness, due to its high content of natural antioxidants.



  • Its name derives from the whitish color of its leaf, which gives a clarity to the tree.
  • It is mainly found in Seville, Cordoba and Malaga.
  • It has a double use: as a table olive and olive oil.
  • Medium-sized round olive
  • The EVOO is characterized by its notes of different field herbs, artichoke, nettle… highlighting a characteristic spiciness.



  • Third in production volume in Spain.
  • Originally from Mora de Toledo, it is grown mainly in Toledo, Ciudad Real and Madrid, although it can also be found throughout Extremadura.
  • Elongated, asymmetrical and with its characteristic horn shape that gives its name to the variety.
  • It has a golden yellow color with slight greenish reflections that anticipate the fruity attribute.
  • It presents a harmonious balance between sweetness on entry, bitterness of green leaves and spiciness of medium intensity. The texture of this olive oil is fluid and velvety.


  • Originally from Catalonia, specifically in Tarragona and Lérida, its resistance and precocity to adapt to super-intensive cultivation has made it expand rapidly throughout the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Small olives and large stone olives
  • They are fresh and young oils that due to their composition are more delicate than other varieties against oxidation.
  • EVOO is characterized by being predominantly fruity with notes of banana, almond and apple.

If there is a crucial moment in the cultivation of olive trees, it is the flowering, since it powerfully determines the next harvest. If the flowering is poor or suffers from inclement weather, the next harvest will be scarce.

This stage in which the olive tree is covered with flowers is very beautiful but if you are allergic to its pollen, we try to explain why the pollen is in the air with this article.

What is the name of the olive blossom?

This question is very easy for crossword puzzle fans as it is a common word in this popular pastime. The name of the olive flower is rapa, although it is also known by the name trama. Strictly speaking, this name is the one used for the flower before opening. In some places it is also known by the word esquimo.

How does it flower?

The variety of the olive tree is a determining factor in the number of flowers contained in each bunch. It usually grows in clusters of 10 to 40 flowers. Its four petals are white in the shape of a cross and in the center it has a yellow-orange color, where the pollen is found.

There are three types of flowers. The male or staminiferous flowers only have stamens, making them incapable of reproduction, so they generate a large amount of pollen. On the other hand, there are the perfect or hermaphrodite flowers, in charge of producing fruit.

Although most olive trees are hermaphrodites, their pollen cannot fertilize their own flowers, nor those of nearby olive trees if it recognizes them as belonging to the same family. Hence, pollen grains must travel long distances to pollinate flowers of other olive trees. It also helps that it is very soft and sweet, thus seeking optimal pollination with the help of insects.

When is the flowering phase?

Given that the ideal temperature for flowering is around 18-20º C, the usual in a Mediterranean climate at the end of April or beginning of May. This process can vary greatly depending on the variety of olive tree.

The climatic conditions that occur during flowering can condition this phase of the olive tree. On many occasions, temperatures tend to rise when the olive trees are in bloom or there are heavy frosts and rains. This can cause a weakening of the flowers themselves, which will not germinate and produce olives.

Once the germination process begins, from the time the first flower appears until the last flower is fertilized and falls off, it usually lasts 3-4 weeks. Of all the flowers we see on an olive tree, only 2-3% of them will finish the phase. Until the time of ripening of its fruit, the olive, quite a few will still be lost as they transform into fruit. In short, the olive tree will only keep the ones that can develop properly, achieving healthy olives with which to produce excellent extra virgin olive oil.


The negative effects of pollen

It is common knowledge, and even more so among allergy sufferers, that olive tree pollen causes allergic symptoms. Congestion, itchy nose, throat and palate, conjunctivitis and asthma are the main symptoms that occur as an allergic reaction to olive blossom pollen.

And after the olive blossom, the olives.

With the blossom, the olive farming process begins. Prior to this, the tree has had to be optimally prepared. With the setting of the fruit, that is, the passage from flower to fruit, the care and supervision is maximum to achieve healthy and pest-free olives until the moment of harvesting, with which to obtain an extra virgin olive oil of the highest quality.