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Cultivar Descriptions

Amphissa (aka Amfissa, Konservolea)

Origin: Greece

Growth Habit: Fast growing with spreading habit and medium density canopy

Cold hardiness: this rustic variety has a reputation for being very cold hardy and is often grown in higher elevations in Greece (600m/2000ft)

Fruit: dual purpose, the most common Greek table olive (in Greece at least), large, can be used green or black—early green picking, full ripening mid-season (after Leccino)

Pollinator: Possibly self-pollinating (literature is unclear on this), but as with all cultivars a pollinator will ensure better fruit set. Pendolino, Maurino should work—others such as Leccino probably as well.

Ascolana tenera 

Origin: Le Marche, Italy

Growth habit: upright and full

Cold hardiness: Good winter cold hardiness for our zone 8 coastal winters.

Fruit: large, firm freestone fruit prized for table use, ripens early but bruises easily, oil yield is low for fruit size but of high quality with complex fruity flavour with peppery finish.

Pollinator(s): Frantoio, Itrana, Leccino, Maurino, Pendolino

Bella di Cerignola

Origin: Foggia (Puglia) 

Growth habit: Medium vigor, prefers fertile soils. Reaches medium height with dense crown and slight weeping branches.

Cold hardiness: Reputedly less hardy than the rest of our offerings but trees in pots here at the nursery show hardiness comparable to most other cultivars.

Fruit: Cerignola olives are primarily picked green for table use but they also yield a nice olive oil. Flesh to pit ratio is very high sometimes as much as 75%. Fruit matures early to mid-season (late October to mid-November).
Pollinator(s): Frantoio, Itrana, Leccino, Maurino, Pendolino

Cailletier aka Nicoise (SP*)

Origin: Alpes-Maritimes area near Nice, France

Growth habit: vigorous grower maturing to a statuesque tree with  a downward drooping branches

Cold hardiness: very good cold resistance

Fruit: dual purpose olive that makes an excellent delicate oil but mainly renowned for its delicious small black Nicoise table olives. Later ripening for black olives.

Pollinator: self-fertile but better fruit set with pollinator such as Pendolino, Maurino, Leccino, Frantoio.

Frantoio (SP*)

Origin: Tuscany, Italy

Growth habit: Medium-vigour; grows upright, with open structure and eventually, a wide spreading canopy.

Cold hardiness: Often cited as medium hardy but here in British Columbia’s Gulf islands we have found it to be hardy. It is at least as hardy as Leccino (and more hardy in some cases). 

Characteristics: Fruit matures late relative to the Leccino, yet it reaches its maximum oil yield early in the season (this is one reason why it can be picked at the same time as Leccino in areas such as Umbria and Tuscany). In British Columbia, picking Frantoio green may be the best strategy for a dependable harvest.

Fruit: Frantoio oil is fruity with a pungent finish. Its medium-sized clingstone fruit can be picked green or ripe for table use. Brined Frantoio olives have a nutty flavour.

Pollination compatibility: Self-fertile, but a pollinator such as Maurino or Pendolino will enhance fruit-set and maximize yield. It will act as a pollinator for Leccino making it the perfect companion to Leccino if you only want two trees.

Itrana

Origin: Lazio, Italy

Growth habit: vigorous growth habit and upright structure 

Cold hardiness:  has excellent winter cold hardiness when planted in the ground (potted trees seem slightly more sensitive to cold) for our zone 8 coastal winters.

Characteristics: very productive dual-purpose late ripening cultivar prized for both its oil and table olives (green or black). Nice upright structure and abundant, orderly branching. 

Fruit: medium-sized round, as a table olive Itrana is known as Gaeta. Ripens late season (late November to December).

Pollinators: Leccino, Maurino, Pendolino

Leccino

Origin: Tuscany, Italy

Growth habit: Erect  in stature, cold resistant and more vigorous than either Frantoio or Maurino—meaning it grows slightly more quickly (and seems to be the last to go dormant in winter).

Cold hardiness: Considered to be one of the most cold-hardy cultivars although when young (1-3 years) it may be a little more sensitive to cold than Frantoio (possibly due to its tendency to keep growing into the winter).

Characteristics: Leccino olives ripen evenly and early in November. Like our other varietal offerings, the Leccino is suitable either for pressing for oil or for brining for table olives—makes a wonderful eating olive: see Zingerman’s online deli for a rave review.

Fruit: medium freestone fruit (2-2.5g) with medium-to-high oil content. The mildly fruity and delicate oil of the Leccino olive forms the basis for many Tuscan and Umbrian olive oil blends, at times accounting for over 50% of the blend. Its rich yet mild flavour softens the pungency of the Frantoio’s oil.

Pollination compatibility: Self-sterile, so it needs a pollinator such as Frantoio, Maurino or Pendolino. In turn it is compatible with many other cultivars.

Maurino

Origin: Tuscany, Italy

Growth habit: Compact, slightly bushy growth habit. Medium vigour in growth. 

Cold hardiness: Well-suited for cool coastal summers, good winter cold-hardiness in our zone 8 coastal winters.

Characteristics: A reliable pollinator because of its profuse flowering and long bloom time even in cool conditions. Fruit maturation is usually before Frantoio but after Leccino. Our experience with Maurino in BC is that it grows well and seems to have no problem setting fruit that ripens to a size slightly smaller than Leccino and Frantoio but with a nice flesh to pit ratio (suitable for table olives).

Fruit: Medium oil yield; produces a highly regarded, delicate, not overly fruity oil.

Pollination compatibility: Self-sterile, highly compatible as a pollinator to a wide range of olive varieties including Leccino, Frantoio and Pendolino.

Nocellara del Belice 

Origin: Sicily

Growth habit: expansive crown but moderate growth (height).

Cold hardiness: Good winter cold hardiness for our zone 8 coastal winters.

Characteristics: fruit for oil matures late season but can be picked mid-season for high quality green table olives (Castelvetrano). 

Fruit: very large fruit with a high flesh to pit ratio. Used to make the popular Castelvetrano table olives, also makes a high quality light oil.

Pollinator(s): Pendolino, Maurino et al

Pendolino

Origin: Tuscany, Italy

Growth habit: Pendulous aspect to limbs (hence the name) but classic olive tree shape in branch structure. Pendolino trees can develop into beautiful semi-pendulous trees (but may take their time doing so).

Cold hardiness: Good winter cold hardiness for our zone 8 coastal winters.

Characteristics: A universal pollinator for most olive varieties. 

Fruit: Ripens evenly in midseason, normally about the same time as Leccino and before Frantoio. Fruit can be brined for delicious green or black brined olives.When harvested for oil, it has medium oil yield and produces a delicate oil.

Pollination compatibility: Pendolino produces abundant pollen and has a long bloom period. It is compatible with many of the cultivars we sell.

Taggiasca (SP*)

Origin: Liguria, Italy

Growth habit: vigorous with a slightly drooping shape. Open crown with nicely symmetrical side-branching.

Cold Hardiness: this Ligurian native is a close relative of Frantoio and is at least as hardy.

Fruit: medium-sized, ripens mid-season. Famous in Liguria for its high quality delicate oil with floral and herbaceous aromas, but also makes delicious table olives

Fertility: self-fertile but benefits from cross-pollination with another Italian cultivar such as Leccino, Maurino or Pendolino.

 

*SP–self-pollinating

 


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