The UK’s ‘largest olive tree’ is just a stone’s throw away from Peterborough, but anyone wishing to find a home for it will need a big garden... and more than £40,000.
Olive Grove in Oundle last week welcomed the 27 foot, seven ton tree into its centre in Oundle Road after transporting it from Elche in Spain.
The tree, which it claims is the largest in the UK, had to be delivered on a low loader to the plant centre and unloaded via a 100 ton crane, which was supplied by Crowland Cranes.
It is between 650 and 700 years old and has been in its current container for nine years. Its height means it has to be pruned via a cherry picker.
Jon Parrott, managing director at Olive Grove, said: “We brought the tree as we are the largest supplier of mature olive trees in the UK, and this is our statement piece.
“The tree can grow olives, and if we have a long and hot summer they may well ripen and be edible.
“This is the largest tree we have ever had, but not the oldest. We had a slightly smaller tree that was estimated to be between 800 to 1,000 years old. That tree was sold last year and now resides on a large estate in the Oxford area.
“We have another tree being delivered this week that is also between 800 to 1,000 years old, but is a lot shorter.”
Also known as the ‘tree of eternity’, the olive tree goes back to ancient history, with some being more than 1,000 years old.
One of the oldest living olive trees in the world grows in Crete in Greece and is estimated to be more than 3,000 years old.
It has been declared a national monument and the olives produced are highly prized.
A wreath made from its branches has travelled to the opening ceremony of each Olympic Games since the Athens games in 2004.
Originating in what is now Turkey, olives spread throughout the Mediterranean approximately 6,000 years ago. It is believed to have contributed to the rise and power of the ancient Greek and Roman empires. It is in the countries around the Mediterranean, however, where the olive tree flourishes.
Closer to home Olive Grove in Oundle has yet to have any expressions of interest in its new tree, although it has only been on site for a little over a week.
The tree is on an automatic watering system and will need watering everyday over the summer, as well as three times a week in the spring.
It will also need pruning approximately one or two times a year.
Anyone wishing to purchase the tree will not only need plenty of space but also a healthy bank account as it will set them back £40,000, on top of transport costs.
Jon said the age of the tree can be estimated by measuring the circumference of the trunk.