Bonsai Olive Tree
The olive is a tree commonly found in Mediterranean countries, where it has a long cultivation tradition and also symbolic importance. Since the 4th millennium BC it is cultivated for its fruit.
Olive trees are well ramified evergreen trees or shrubs and, depending on the variety, can become up to 10 or even 20 meters (33 to 66 ft) tall. Wild olive trees, called oleaster, are smaller than cultivars. The leaves are silvery-grey and narrow lanceolate to elliptic. The olive tree grows very slowly but can become several hundred or even a thousand years old. Old trees develop a rough bark and gnarled trunks. The small yellowish white flowers are followed by green drupes which turn black when they get ripe and contain a single hard seed each. Olive fruits are edible after they are watered and kept in brine for some time, but most of them are used for producing olive oil.
For bonsai you can use cultivated varieties but the wild olive Bonsai (Olea europaea sylvestris) has the advantage of very tiny leaves and short internodes. In many cases yamadori oleasters possess beautiful natural deadwood and a lovely rough bark that indicates a high age and survival in hostile conditions. The olive is easy to care for if you can place it in a cold but frost-free greenhouse in winter.