THE REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY OF THE OLIVE TREE AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO EXTREME ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS
The olive fruit develops from the fertilized ovary of the olive flower, so fruit production is directly contingent upon flower formation (number and quality) and subsequent fertilization. In the olive tree, the flowers are born on inflorescences which differentiate from axillary buds formed the previous year along with new shoot and leaf growth. Following a period of winter dormancy in which they are still undifferentiated as reproductive structures, the axillary buds reinitiate growth and commence inflorescence differentiation, an extensive process which requires two to three months and includes the elongation and branching of the inflorescence axis and the formation of the individual flowers. Environmental limitations related to water availability and extreme temperatures may critically impact at different moments during this process, particularly in new areas of olive farming which vary from the strict Mediterranean climate where the olive tree originated and to which it is adapted. Specific cases which will be examined here are the effect of water deficits on inflorescence development, frost damage to floral buds, cold accumulation requirements for bud break, and high temperature effects on inflorescence development and fertilization.
Rapoport, H.F. (2014). THE REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY OF THE OLIVE TREE AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO EXTREME ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS. Acta Hortic. 1057, 41-50
Olea europaea L., axillary bud, inflorescence, perfect flower, fertilization, freezing, water stress, high temperature