I've been reading your web site in preparation for a story I'm writing in CHOW magazine about olive oil. I gather from it that there are 600 species of olives. I've also heard there are thousands of olive varieties. Can you clarify?
Different species imply that they cannot reproduce successfully. All of the olive varietals are the same species so they can pollinate one another. The analogy would be different breeds of dogs. They are all the same species and can interbreed but if two different breeds ( or varietals in the case of olives) come together, the progeny may have a mix of characteristics different from the parents. That's why olives are usually propagated from cuttings, so all the trees created are exact clones of the parent.
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