At the present time, there are over 3000 cultivars, of which 60 are widely grown. Some cultivars have been known for a thousand years. Cultivars have been divided into soft and semi-dry, based on moisture content and an increasing proportion of sucrose, rather than glucose and fructose. Selection has altered fruit quality, storage, suckering, salt tolerance, and spininess. 2. Olive. Olive ( Olea europea , Oleaceae) is a slow-growing, long-lived, evergreen tree uniquely adapted to the climate of the Mediterranean basin and considered a defining feature of this climate (Smartt and Simmonds 1995). Indigenous types are still widely found with archeological evidence as far back as 12,000 years ago (Blazquez 1996). The cultivated olive originated about 6000 years ago in Asia Minor, but was generally unknown to the Babylonians and Assyrians whose source of oil was sesame and walnut. The olive was long known in Syria and the Holy Land and was introduced to Egypt from Syria between 3000 and 1800 BCE (Goor and Nurock
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