For millennia, olive, Olea europaea, dutifully produced oil and edible fruit for civilizations of the Mediterranean region. During the last several centuries, it migrated to do the same in other regions of similar climate throughout the World. At least two centuries ago, it got to California, and became a major agricultural commodity. Now, it lives in home gardens.
The abundant and oily fruit that justified cultivation of olive trees for thousands of years is ironically a potential nuisance for home gardens. Few people harvest and process them. Olive fruit can stain pavement and attract rodents. Fruitless or mostly fruitless cultivars of olive, and dwarf cultivars, have been increasingly popular for only the past few decades.
Olive trees are not big, but slowly develop grandly sculptural trunks. Some might be little more than twenty feet tall when mature. Few get more than forty feet tall. Most have a few leaning trunks, which become furrowed and distended with age. The narrow and grayish evergreen leaves are about two or three inches long. Olive fruits are about an inch wide.