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Cultivar Descriptions

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 very 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, Frantoio

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.

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.

Seascape

Origin: Nikita Botanical Research Station, Yalta, Ukraine

Growth habit: good vigour, slightly pendulous branching when mature

Cold hardiness:  good cold hardiness for our zone 8 coastal winters.

Characteristics: As one of many “new” cultivars developed in Yalta, there is not much research literature available but from four years observing this variety here on Saturna it seems to do well either in pots or in the ground. The olives are good sized for young trees.

Fruit: produces medium to large table olives with good flesh to pit ratio when mature

Pollinators: Universal, Leccino, Maurino, Perpetual, Harvest Joy (and most others).

Universal

Origin: Nikita Botanical Research Station, Yalta, Ukraine

Growth habit: good vigour, upright structure

Cold hardiness:  good cold hardiness for our zone 8 coastal winters.

Characteristics: As one of many “new” cultivars developed in Yalta, there is not much research literature available but from four years observing this variety here on Saturna it seems to do well either in pots or in the ground. The olives are good sized for young trees.

Fruit: produces medium to large table olives with good flesh to pit ratio when mature

Pollinators: Leccino, Maurino, Seascape, Frantoio, Harvest Joy, Perpetua  (and most others)

*SP–self-pollinating


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