Mediterranean Trees


Croatia – The renowned wild olive groves of Lun occupy the furthest tip of the Island of Pag, from the Cape of Saint Martin to Dudi?, and further along Gager, Jakišnica and Staniš?e. There are around 80,000 autochthonous trees on the area of around 1,300 hectares. In the vicinity of Lun, some twenty kilometres from the town of Novalja, there are 60 hectares of particularly picturesque olive groves with 1,500 wild olive trees, Olea oleaster linea, grafted onto the domestic olive sort “oblica“. Lun and its olive groves at the far north of the extended part of the Island of Pag are already known in the global scope as a special Mediterranean phenomenon. The Lun olive groves seem to have appeared by some miracle on a rocky terrain where there is almost no arable soil. According to the observations made by Pliny the Elder, when Roman legionnaires set foot on the island, they found unbelievably dense groves of wild olive trees. The olive oil from Lun is mentioned in the first cookbook published in the western world written by Marcus Fabius Apicius. Similar wild olive tree reservations exist only in two other places: Israel and Greece. Lun, however, has a primacy in terms of tree concentration in the area of untouched nature, and in terms of its age. Most of the olive trees are several centuries old, a few hundred trees are more than a thousand years old, and the oldest tree among them is 1,700 years old. The olive trees in Lun are a natural wonder because many of them grow out of rocks and new ones keep sprouting. This is something that does not occur in any other similar olive grove.

Wild olives, the evergreen Olea oleaster linea, bear small and very oily fruits and today, it is a very rare forest sort in the Mediterranean pool. Each olive tree that grew from a pit has its own unique DNA. This is why the area of Dudi?eva kruna was protected as a botanical reservation of wild olive trees back in 1963. The only olive trees that have survived in Lun are those with genotypes that can adapt to a difficult environment on the rocky island terrain, such as harsh droughts and strong “bura” winds with sea sprays. The olive trees in Lun are from the biblical times, and the olive groves of Lun are the most beautiful living monument to olive-growing in the region.

The people of Lun would graft the domestic olive trees of the “oblica“ sort onto the wild olive trees. They were given the right to cultivate them in 1834 by the Viennese Court, and since then, trees five to eight meters tall, have seen many generations of Lun farmers. Practically each family from Lun and the vicinity has trees they inherited from their great-great-grandfathers, and most of them pick the fruits by hand. There is the unwritten rule that those who graft wild seedlings become the owners of the future tree and they place their recognizable symbols on them. Due to the autochthonous olives and the method of processing, all oils from Lun are rich with natural antioxidants and are classified as extra virgin olive oil.

The project entitled Lun Olive Gardens, mostly financed by the European Union funds, ensured the Gardens had an even more attractive access route. Walking paths were made through partially impassable olive groves, electrical vehicles were made available for tours, and a picturesque amphitheatre was built for cultural manifestations. The Lun olive grove is a magical place because of the symbiosis between olives and sheep, ridges bound by stone walls and cliffs intertwined with roots and tree trunks. Primordial battle between the elemental forces in the centennial trees has shaped some unusual forms and created an exceptional museum of natural sculptures.

Andriana Škunca

Issue Date: 10.07.2017
Designer: Nataša Odak, designer from Zagreb
Printer: AKD d.o.o., Zagreb
Process: Multicolor Offset Printing
Size: 48.28 x 29.82 mm
Values: 5.80 HRK