|Distribution map, with Olea europaea subsp. europaea shown in green|
The olive, known by the botanical name Olea europaea, meaning "European olive", is a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae, found traditionally in the Mediterranean Basin. The species is cultivated in all the countries of the Mediterranean, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, North and South America and South Africa. Olea europaea is the type species for the genus Olea.
The olive's fruit, also called an "olive", is of major agricultural importance in the Mediterranean region as the source of olive oil; it is one of the core ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine. The tree and its fruit give their name to the plant family, which also includes species such as lilacs, jasmine, Forsythia, and the true ash trees (Fraxinus).
From Middle English olyve, from Old French olive (“olive, olive tree”), from Latin olīva (“olive”), from Etruscan 𐌄𐌋𐌄𐌉𐌅𐌀 (eleiva) or Proto-Greek *ἐλαίϝα (*elaíwa), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *loiwom (compare Old Church Slavonic лои (loi, “tallow”), Old Armenian եւղ (ewł, “oil”...