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Herdade do Peso is home to Portugal’s oldest olive tree

Herdade do Peso is home to Portugal’s oldest olive tree

The most ancient olive tree dated in Portugal is 3712 years old, and is located at Herdade do Peso, property of Sogrape, in Vidigueira, Alentejo. The very same plains are also home to a set of olive trees with a combined age surpassing 7000 years. This is a living testimony of the agricultural and natural heritage of the region that Herdade do Peso and Sogrape proudly preserve, having submitted the ancient olive tree to the 2024 edition of the European Tree of the Year contest following the World Olive Day, annually celebrated on November 26.

This ancient treasure is part of a group of nearly 80 olive trees forming a living and unique heritage, representing a natural legacy that stands for millennia. Documents included in an acquisition deed dating back to 1791, signed by Judge Estêvão José Palha, report the existence of 57 olive trees at Herdade do Peso and attest to their value as a natural asset. These are actually believed to be the ones integrating the millennia-old group.

Besides the olive trees, Herdade do Peso is also home to several native species, such as the ‘alho-púrpura’ (Allium pruinatum), the ‘cleónia’ (Cleonia lusitanica), the ‘aroeira’ (Schinus terebinthifolius), the ‘campainhas-amarelas’ (Narcissus bulbocodium, the ‘roselha-grande’ (Cistus albidus), and the ‘azinheira’ (Quercus). This diversified ecosystem, with around 160 hectares of vineyards, olive trees and other native species, reflects a perfect harmony between nature and the surrounding landscape.

To Mafalda Guedes, Corporate Brand & Sustainability Manager at Sogrape and head of Seed the Future, a Global Sustainability Programme, “It is with a great sense of responsibility and pride that we aim at preserving biodiversity, as well as respecting the places were we are present. We have always focused on running our business with responsibility, therefore, our mission is to take care of this unique landscape, while promoting the preservation of a natural legacy, and demonstrating a lasting commitment to nature and sustainability.”

The certification of the millennia-old olive trees at Herdade do Peso was carried out by the Portuguese company "Oliveiras Milenares", and by the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), with both entities dating the oldest known olive trees in Portugal. The research and dating methodology, patented by UTAD, was supported by a multidisciplinary team from Sogrape.

Due to the relevance of its heritage, the oldest millennia-old olive tree at Herdade do Peso is among the contestants for the title of European Tree of the Year 2024, a competition born in 2011, inspired by a contest in the Czech Republic to vote the tree of the year. At this stage, it is among the 10 finalists that may represent Portugal in the European Edition, with voting taking place online until 5 January, here.

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