Have you heard of the Thinking Tree in Puglia, Italy?

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The Ancient Olive Tree, known as the “Thinking Tree,” is located in Ginosa, Puglia, Italy. If only this tree could talk. The tree is at least 1500 years old. Some reports say it could be as old as 4,000 years old.

This tree has made its rounds on social media over the last decade. However, I have found that the history of the olive groves is just as fascinating.

The thinking tree

The Ancient Olive Tree of Puglia

Olive trees have been producing olives for centuries in the Puglia region of Italy. The trunks of the trees come in all shapes and sizes. It would be no surprise that something resembling a face would occur on one of the trees. There are between 50 to 60 million olive trees in the region. That’s a million with an M.

How did they get there?

The Romans planted the trees many years before the modern era. Olive trees in the bible represent abundance, peace, and purity. Legend has it that the founders of Rome, twin brothers Remus and Romulus, were born under an olive tree. It is no coincidence that the Romans chose the olive tree for these reasons. It’s astonishing to see their economic impact on the region hundreds of years after being planted.

Olive groves in Puglia
Olive groves in Puglia

Pharaohs and priests initially used olive oil in anointment ceremonies. Only the wealthy could obtain the sweet nectar. As the oil became more abundant, it was used for other things such as fuel, food, cosmetics, & medicines.

The English word “oil” actually comes from the Latin word “Oliva,” which directly translates to “olive tree.”

The Puglia groves are the oldest human-curated groves known to exist. The trees bear the marks of centuries of human hands working the trees to harvest their fruit. That’s what gives them their odd shapes.

The trees are dying

A 2013 discovery found the trees infected with a bacteria called Xylella fastidiosa. The bacteria constrict the water and nutrients from moving up the trees, killing them. There are currently efforts underway to save the olive trees. However, this is a massive undertaking, as the disease has been found in olive trees across Italy and other parts of Europe.


Strange Things

I posted the image of the Thinking Tree in November on social media. It got quite the response. I realized that some of my “Did You Know” pictures can be vague. This gave me the idea to take some more popular ones and give them their post, just like this one. I plan to do more of these in the future. So please, stay tuned.

Check out the other Strange Things I posted in November here on Wisedocks. Most of the pictures I post on social media make their way into the monthly post. If you want, you can view them all at once.

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