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The Secret Life of Olive Trees in the Arab World

posted on: Jan 26, 2021

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By: Nana Osei/Arab America Contributing Writer

The olive tree has a huge significance and meaning in the Arab world. What is the olive tree though? Furthermore, why is it so significant and what is its meaning. What is the nature and science behind the olive tree? A lot of people don’t understand how important the olive tree is. Most people haven’t even seen an olive tree in their lives! Most importantly, the olive tree means so much that it deserves to be recognized and known. In this article, I’ll reveal to you the secret life of olive trees in the Arab world!


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Where does the olive come from? What is the olive tree? The olive tree botanical name is Olea europaea which means “European Olive”. It is a type of evergreen tree. Also, it is found in the Mediterranean Basin from Portugal to the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and southern Asia as far east as China, as well as the Canary Islands and Réunion. The olive tree is also cultivated in other countries. Furthermore, it is cultivated in the countries of the Mediterranean coast, as well as in Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Java, Norfolk Island, California, and Bermuda. As you can see the olive tree is found in the Arab world all over.

The olive tree is beautiful. Varients of it contain tiny, white flowers that truly bring out its beauty. As you should know the olive tree produces olives. The olives it produces are used to make olive oil and its own olives are sold all over the world.

The olive tree is one of the oldest known cultivated trees in the World. Archeologists have found through fossils that the olive tree has existed 20 to 40 million years ago in the geologic epoch of the Paleogene period. Olive trees also live incredibly long times. The olive tree actually lives for over 2,000 years! There are olive trees in Arraba and Deir Hanna has lived for over 3000 years. There is also a tree known as Farga d’Arió that goes all the way back to 314 CE that is still alive today. The longer the olive tree lives the larger its trunk gets.

References in Religion

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The olive tree is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and is found in one of the most significant stories. We first hear it referenced in Genesis 8:11. The olive tree branch was sent to Noah by the dove to show that the flood was over. It also showed that new land was ready to be cultivated and a new start was ready. Furthermore, the olive tree is also referenced in Deuteronomy 8:8. It is known as one of the seven species that are significant to the land of Israel.

The olive tree has great importance in Islam. It is also referenced in the Qur’an. The olive tree is referenced seven times actually! The Qur’an actually worships and acknowledges it as a precious and holy fruit. It has been listed to have miraculous benefits also. The prophet Mohammed even quoted, “Take oil of olive and massage with it – it is a blessed tree”.

Significance in the Arab World

The olive tree has a huge significance in the Arab world. First of all, the olive tree represents a lot. It represents peace. It especially was used to symbolize it in the Arab-Israeli conflict in 2001-2002. The olive tree has huge significance for Palestinians all over the world. Furthermore, they symbolize the Palestinians attachment to their land also. They are also significant for agriculture in the Arab world. Also, the olive tree brings a lot of economic power to the agriculture sector in the Arab world.

The olive tree also symbolizes friendship in the Arab world. Friendship is important to Arab people all over the world. Arab culture has some of the best practices of hospitality. Arab Americans are extremely friendly and always willing to help family and friends. Part of the reason why Arab Americans are successful is because of their connections through friendship.

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