The olive tree at the Hanbury Botanical Gardens
At the Hanbury Botanical Gardens there are impressive specimens of olive trees, they can be found along the entire route, in particular along the "Viale degli Olivi" in the lower part of the garden, they are a characterizing element of the Ligurian landscape.
"Oval and of a nice thickness: its peel, initially green, then whitish, then reddish, ends up turning black and wraps a soft and gentle pulp that produces a very fine oil, the whitest and most delicate of all known olj "...
the description of the Taggiasca olive by Giorgio Gallesio, Ulivo Gentile in "Italian Pomona or treatise on fruit trees", Pisa 1817-1839
"The most precious of the varieties and the most recommended for its abundant fruiting and the excellent quality of the oil ..."
this is how the Taggiasca olive was described by the naturalist Domenico Viviani in his travel diary: "Voyage dans les Apennins de la ci-devant Ligurie pour servir d'introduction à l'histoire naturelle de ce pays", Gênes 1807.
“Olives that reach great development in suitable soil, with plants 15-16 meters high; height that is reduced to 5-8 meters in less suitable and mountain terrain. The plant has a tendency to form on a single stem which reaches quite considerable dimensions. The foliage bears abundant branches, naturally enlarged and ash-colored, with branches with long internodes, tending to elongate at the bottom, assuming the pendulous appearance which is the most pronounced characteristic of the variety. The leaves are elongated, regular, the upper side is dark green and the lower side is greenish-gray. The flowers are gathered in an elongated, sparse inflorescence, normally branched into 4 secondary rachids, bearing more flowers. The alloying of this variety is excellent. The fruit, which is gradually late ripening, which is one of the most marked characteristics of the variety, is of an elongated cylindrical shape slightly enlarged at the base, of a shiny black-violet color, with a not very consistent, very oily pulp".
C. Carocci Buzi, The varieties of olive trees grown in Liguria, in "The varieties of olive trees grown in Italy", Rome, 1937.
Much research has been carried out and published on the origins of the olive tree and the various oil varieties grown in the Mediterranean; there are different currents of thought on the introduction of the Taggiasca olive. Giorgio Gallesio on the origin of Taggiasca writes that "it is difficult to determine the country where this precious variety began", assuming that the Ulivo Gentile originated directly from Palestine. In this direction is the thesis of a Ligurian-Provençal origin, according to which the olive tree known as Taggiasco was brought by the Phocians, an ancient people of Greek origin, founders of ancient Massalia (Marseille) and the nearby colonies in present-day Provence. (Avignon, Antibes, Cannes, Nice), from which it would have spread to Liguria.
In France, in the Grasse region and in the Nice area, the Cailletier variety (Olivier de Grasse), from which Taggiasca derives, is grown almost exclusively.