It still produces olives after all those millennia.
The ancient olive tree of Vouves in Crete, Greece. Image credit: Eric Nagle
The Olive tree of Vouves in Crete, Greece is probably the oldest olive tree in the world and is definitely among the oldest of any tree alive on this planet. It is confirmed to be at least 2,000 years old based on tree ring analysis, and scientists from the University of Crete have estimated it to be as old as 4,000 years!
That said, the exact age of the tree cannot be determined, as there is not yet an agreed upon scientific method to ascertain the age of olive trees. But it’s definitely as ancient as the hills.
The ancient tree could be up to 4,000 years old. Image credit: Alexey Komarov
Another incredible fact about the Olive tree of Vouves is that it still produces olives. In fact, according to Greek Reporter, the ancient olive tree produces the best olive oil in the world, the area being the cradle of olive cultivation on the island of Crete.
The trunk of the tree, which has a perimeter of 41 feet (12.5 m) and a diameter of 15 feet (4.6 m) is now hollow, as the heartwood is gradually rotting away.
For this reason, the olive tree is renewed outward and this constant rebirth has made it a symbol of immortality since ancient times.
You can actually see through the trunk, as it is hollow. Nevertheless, the tree continues to live and produce olives. Johan Wieland
The tree has been declared a protected natural monument, and in October 2009, the Olive Tree Museum of Vouves opened in a nearby 19th-century house, showcasing the traditional tools and process of olive cultivation.
Branches from the tree were used to weave victors’ wreaths for the winners of the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. And who knows? It could even have provided the wreaths for the first ancient Olympic Games that can be traced back to Olympia in 776 BC.