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It is said that it takes 300 years for an olive tree to split and create two trees, yet this one has split so often that it has created five separate trees in a ring, like the walls of a drum, around the place where its sapling once stood.
I have no way of knowing how old this tree is. I stumbled on it beside a road in the Amari Valley, in Crete, not far from the ruins of ancient Sivritis. It is not the oldest olive tree on Crete - that distinction is given to the Vouves Olive, which is at least 2,000 years old and possible as much as 4,000 years, making it one of the oldest living things on earth. But I feel sure that this tree has borne fruit for 1,000 summers or more - maybe much more - and it still does today.
February 1st, 2013
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