A 2,500-year-old Olive Tree
Hvar is a very green island, overflowing with plants and trees. It is said that there were two special trees in Heaven, the fig tree, known as the ‘Tree of Truth’, and the olive, the ‘Tree of Life’.
One of Hvar’s riches is a specially long-lived olive tree in the village of Zastražišće (known to many foreigners as the ‘Z-village’ for short). It stands alongside the Grapčeva Cave near Humac as testimony to the fact that human life on Hvar dates back to prehistoric times.
This staple of the Mediterranean diet grows at 400 m above sea level, flowering between May and June. Olive fruits generally ripen from about October onwards, in some cases right up to January, depending on the variety and the weather conditions.
The average life span of an olive tree is 500 years, but this one, almost miraculously, has survived an estimated 2,500 years in the sparse soil, almost without any water, but blessed with abundant sunshine. Its location in a region called Kuharače lies within a wide area around Zastražišće and Poljica which is famed for its variety of olive trees, which produce the highest volume of olive oil on Hvar Island.
In 1962, Hvar historian Dr. Niko Duboković did research to try to establish the age of the tree, whose circumference measures 5.9 metres. It has not been possible to establish the tree’s exact age, but it is certain that it dates from well before the current Christian era. It is a rarity, and in its way a cultural monument.
Despite its great age, it still bears fruit every year, to the delight of its proud owner, Tihomir Beroš.
You can visit the tree by arrangement, and also enjoy tasting the olive oil which it produces. It is a special experience!