My Mystical Olive Trees

Back in 2014, I was visiting Iraq and saw a mystical olive tree growing in Karbala and wished I could take one back to Karachi. Our hotel manager, Hummam, was the only local who could speak and understand English. Hummam was a third year student at a university in Mosul and one of the lucky residents who managed to escape from there when ISIS took over.

I asked this kid to guide me to nurseries where I can get olive tree from. He told me that  nurseries were far and that he can arrange the plant for me. Next day, he surprised me with a huge olive plant growing in a white plastic basket. He never accepted a payment for that and said we are their guests.  That tree traveled through all the cities that we visited and reached Karachi without any problem. 

It has been more than 2 years and the plant has grown beautifully in container. I am still waiting for it to fruit. I am not sure what variety is that and if it will ever fruit here or not. Still, the tree is very close to my heart and soul. When ever I look at it, I remember the great River Euphrates where it was grown. It must be an offspring of the worlds oldest olive trees.

‘Experts’ say the olives will never fruit in Karachi. I just cant give up. 

The New Olive Trees in the Garden

Recently, I started collecting fruiting trees. Olives, grapes, figs, apples, cherries, guavas, pineapples and more. Among these are Olives that are suitable for our growing zone. 


Arbequina image source: wiki

Arbequina is from Catalonia, Spain.  It grows highly aromatic small round olives which turn purple when ripen. Planting this tree was a very special meditative experience for me. I pray that this tree grows for many centuries to come.

Manzanillo grows well near coastal areas and like arbequina olives it also loves long warm season. These are oval green fruits that turn black. Although, mazanillo might not fruit as early as arbequina but my hopes will not fade!


 Manzanillo olives. Image Source:

Picual loves hot weather and is drought tolerant. This fruit has sweet buttery taste and turns dark green and even black when ripen. It usually matures in November or December in zones 8-10. Lets see when this fruits here in Karachi.


picual olive

Picual Olives. Image source:

I am enjoying my young plants in pots for now. Being close to my mystic olive trees bring me closer to my own self.



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Zahra Ali Husain is a sustainability educator, freelance writer and an environmentalist. She is also a co-founder of Organic City Pakistan and runs the Green Schools & the Horticulture Therapy programs along with Yasir Husain. Zahra also manages an organic farm.

  • Is it possible that I get seeds to grow olives I have chiki lemon small orange n mulberry trees growing in pots .The lemon has started growing to a marble size but not more than that and the chikoo is also of black pepper size .It fruits and then dries up .Guide me to get good fruits .Thanks

  • Can I grow olive plant in Karachi and can get fruit from it? If yes then what type of plants are most suitable?