Olea europeaea var. europaea
Origin: Central Italy (via California)
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~20
BOTANICAL SAMPLE - NOT GERMINATION TESTED
Life cycle: Perennial
Also known as Canina, Caninese, and Montignoso, this is an ancient olive variety from the Italian region of Latium around Rome. It is widely grown there for high-quality olive oil production. It has a vivid greenish color, strong fragrance, and delicious flavor. Canino trees can get quite large and have a tall upright shape with a compact crown. The trees are self-sterile, so they will need a pollinator in order to produce fruit (Santa Cruz Olive Tree Nursery recommends Olivone, Frantoio, Pendolino, and Leccino as good pollinators for it). This is a relatively cold-hardy variety (probably reliable only down to Zone 9), that also stands up to high winds and pests like olive knot and olive fly. It is late-maturing, extremely drought resistant, and well-adapted to coastal zones and elevations up to 1,650 feet. Leaves are evergreen, beautiful, and medicinal (anti-fungal).
If you're in a warm enough region, you have a year-round greenhouse, or you're into unusual houseplants (olive trees make excellent bonsai trees!), give 'Canino' a try!
These seeds were imported from Italy by the good folks at Sheffield's Seed Company in Locke, NY. Fruit photo from Cooperativa Olivicola di Canino.
GROWING TIPS: Soak in water for 24 hours before planting. Sow 1/2" deep and tamp down. If you think you can manage it without hurting the living kernel inside, cracking the seed coat may help with germination (otherwise it can be very slow, even up to a year).