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Arbequina or Mission olive tree varietals – Which is the best one?


The Arbequina Olive Tree

Arbequina until recently was mostly grown in Catalonia, Aragon, and Andalusia, Spain.  It is now one of the most widely planted olive cultivars in the world.  The name comes from the Village of Arbeca in Catalonia.  It was originated in Palestine and was introduced in the 17th Century by the Duke of Medinacelli.

The arbequina adapts to many different soils and climates, through it grows best in alkaline soils.  It is frost hardy, pest-resistant and self-pollinating.  It tops out around 15 feet and is a perfect tree for a backyard enthusiast.

The olives are suitable for both the table and oil.  The table olives are quite delicious and the oil has a buttery, fruity, mild flavor.

All olive trees require full sun.  They thrive in hot, sunny summers.  While they are cold hardy, they will sustain serious frost damage below 20 degrees and at 10 degrees will usually die.

The Mission

The Mission variety is, widely recognized as one of very few American varietals. Genetic mapping shows that it is a distant cousin of the Cornicabra (no kin to the infamous Chupacabra creature of Texas lore). Cornicabra seeds were brought to this country by Spaniards, and planted at missions the Spanish religious orders established throughout the new world. Over the centuries this variety morphed into the Mission, a new varietal that is considered a US tree.

Known for its ability to tolerate extreme temperatures of cold (some have survived temperatures as low as 8 degrees) and heat, Mission is ideal for orchards and backyards in extreme climatic conditions.

The Mission olive is of medium size and slightly asymmetrical in shape. Originally the olives were used only for the table, but now they are used to make oil as well. It produces oil that is very stable and has a long shelf life, up to two years or more. The fruit is best picked when it is in the rosy stage of ripeness. The oil taste is fruity and peppery with a hint of bitterness. It, like the Cornicabra, is often used to blend with other oils, especially less stable oils.

Mission trees begin to produce in four to five years after cuttings. They are self-pollinating, so you only need one to produce olives.

The use of the olive branch as a symbol of peace is rooted in ancient Greek mythology. Its significance became even stronger during the Roman empire when envoys used the olive branch as a token of peace. Today, the olive tree continues to be associated with gifting and peaceful living.

Olive trees make thoughtful holiday gifts

The Arbequina and Mission Trees are available in one-gallon size ($18.00 each) or two-gallon size ($25.00)

Come by the orchard Wednesday through Saturday 11-3 p.m. to get your olive trees. We will accept phone orders and will ship trees. Appropriate shipping and insurance charges apply. Call the orchard at (210) 621-0044 for details.

Through Dec. 23, come share the holiday cheer with us in the gift shop with some hot cider punch and cookies.

We are located at
25195 Mathis Road
Elmendorf, TX 78112

Take I-37 South – Exit 122
Left over the overpass and first right onto Mathis Road

2 thoughts on “Arbequina or Mission olive tree varietals – Which is the best one?

  1. Where are you located? I’d like to stop by and purchase an olive tree

    1. We are located at
      25195 Mathis Road
      Elmendorf, TX 78112

      Take I-37 South – Exit 122
      Left over the overpass and first right onto Mathis Road

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