Olax zeylanica Linn. Olacaceae. MALLA.
It is said the leaves are used as potherbs and as salads.
Olea europaea Linn. Oleaceae. OLIVE.
The olive has been in cultivation from the
earliest periods of history. It is found wild in Syria, Greece and Africa
and even in Spain but whether truly indigenous or escaped from
cultivation is in doubt. The olive belongs to the fruits which were
promised to the Jews in Canaan. Homer mentions green olives in the
garden of Alcinous and Laertes, which were brought by Cecrops, the
founder of Athens, to Greece. The cultivated tree was distinguished
from the wild tree by Dioscorides. This tree was first brought to Italy,
says Unger, 571 B. C. and, at the time of Pliny, had been carried over
the Alps to Gaul and Spain. At the time of Cato, the Romans were
acquainted with only 9 kinds of olives, in the time of Pliny with 12 and
at the present time with 20. Humboldt says that, under the reign of
Tarquin the Elder, this tree did not exist in Italy, in Spain or in Africa.
Under the Consulate of Appius Claudius, the olive was still very rare in
Rome, but, at the time of Pliny, the olive had already passed into France
and Spain. It is said by others, however, that the olive was brought to
France by the Phocian colony which inhabited Marseilles, 680 B. C. It is
now extensively cultivated in Italy, southern France, Spain, Portugal,
northern Africa, western Asia and Australia, and, of late years, its
culture seems to be making rapid progress in southern California.
In 1560, three plants were carried to Lima, Peru, one of these was
stolen and carried to Chile and from this origin nourishing plantations
In 1755, the olive was introduced into South Carolina and, in 1785, it
is reported as successfully grown. In this year, also, the South Carolina
Society imported cuttings of olives. In 1833, two varieties were
introduced at Beaufort, South Carolina, and are said to have succeeded
fairly well. In 1869 and 1871, mention is made of the fruiting of olives
at this place. In 1760, the olive was introduced into Florida by a colony
Of Greeks and Minorcans who founded New Smyrna, and about 1760
Anastasia Island, opposite St. Augustine, was remarkable for its fine
olive trees. In 1867, fine crops were gathered in gardens in St.
Augustine. On Cumberland Island, Georgia, a number of trees bore
abundantly for many years prior to 1835 and, in 1825 at Darien, some
200 trees were planted. In 1854, olive trees were under cultivation in
Louisiana, and Jefferys, 1760, speaks of olive trees there yielding
palatable fruit and excellent oil but he may have referred to the wild
olive, O. americana. In 1817, an attempt by a colony to cultivate the
olive in Alabama was made, a grant of land being given conditionally on
success, but the enterprise was not prosecuted and fell through. In
California, the olive is said to have been planted in 1700.
The use of the fruit for the expression of an oil and for pickling is very
extensive, and these products are largely an object of export from
southern Europe. In Cephalonia, according to Mrs. Brassey, the press
cake is used by the peasants as a staple diet.
Olneya tesota A. Gray. Leguminosae. IRONWOOD. OLNEYA.
This tree grows in the most desolate and rocky parts of Arizona
and Sonora. The seeds are eaten raw or roasted by the Indians. When
care is taken to parch them they equal peanuts with no perceptible
difference in taste. The Mohave Indians of Arizona store them for winter