Having Survived Invasion and Disease, Millenary Olive Tree Recognized in Spain

The Spanish Association of Olive Municipalities has named a 1,100-year-old olive tree on Mallorca the “best monumental olive tree in Spain.”
Photos courtesy of the Spanish Association of Olive Municipalities.
Jul. 10, 2020
Daniel Dawson

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A mil­lenary olive tree on the island of Mallorca has been named the best mon­u­men­tal olive tree in Spain” for 2020 by the Spanish Association of Olive Municipalities (AEMO).

Situated in the munic­i­pal­ity of Fornalutx, on the ter­raced slopes of the northerly Sierra de Tramuntana moun­tains, the tree is esti­mated to be 1,100 years old.

See Also:Millenary Olive Trees in Spain Named Global Agricultural Heritage Site

Researchers believe it was planted by the Moorish set­tlers in the ninth cen­tury. The judg­ment panel for AEMO said this means the tree lived through an impor­tant part of Spanish his­tory: the recon­quest of Mallorca by the Spanish king­doms.

The ancient olive trees always con­tain the mys­tery of how a liv­ing being dares to chal­lenge eter­nity, of how a plant, where the liv­ing sap passes cen­tury after cen­tury, is capa­ble of sur­viv­ing both civ­i­liza­tions,” the judge­ment panel wrote.


The mil­lenary olive tree, named Can Det by the locals, has also sur­vived another inva­sion: the spread of Xylella fas­tidiosa on the island.

Introduced in 2016, the plant pathogen has been detected in eight munic­i­pal­i­ties in Mallorca and infected mil­lions of grapevines, almond and olive trees.


Can Det is also unique for another rea­son: the tree still pro­duces olives of the Empeltre Mallorquina vari­ety, which is native to Mallorca.

Thanks to the ded­i­ca­tion of a local farmer, the olives con­tinue to be trans­formed into oil.

In the 21st cen­tury, the olive tree con­tin­ues to bring har­vest thanks to the care of its own­ers, the Deya Canals fam­ily, who grind their fresh olives in the last press mill on the island, the Can Det Mill,” the judges wrote.

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