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The Mele cultivar is a variety with a dual purpose, for the production of oil and table olives, present to a limited extent in the olive groves of the provinces of Bari and Taranto and sporadically in the other three provinces.


Mele, the typical olive cultivar with double purpose of Apulia region

Origin and Historical Outline

Sweet olives such as the Mele cultivar have been present in the Apulian area for at least a millennium, probably a spontaneous native cultivar from seed then propagated due to its appreciated table characteristics and direct use in gastronomy.


Amele, Anolca, Dolce, Dolce mele, Noce, Nolca.

The tree: it has medium vigour, an expansive habit and a medium crown density.

The inflorescence: it has a short length, an average number of flowers and a compact structure.

The leaf: it has an elliptical shape with an average length and a high width; the longitudinal curvature of the flat plate and the color of the upper surface intense green.

The fruit: it has a high weight characterized by a high pulp/stone ratio; it has a spherical and slightly symmetrical shape, with a central position of the maximum mean transverse diameter. The apex is rounded and the base is truncated. The mucron is absent. There are abundant large lenticels. Veraison starts from the apex and the color when fully ripe is black.

The flowering period of the Mele cultivar is precocious and intermediate; while the veraison period is precocious and concentrated.

The Mele cultivar is self-sterile and is cultivated in olive groves in which there are trees of the Coratina, Ogliarola barese, Cellina barese cultivars, whose flowering is practically contemporary.

The oil content of the Mele cultivar is medium. The cultivar has a phenol content that on average just exceeds 60 mg/kg.

The oleic acid content is more than 70%.

The Mele cultivar is mainly suitable for direct consumption or dressed in the Greek style as a black olive. The Mele cultivar belongs to the small group of so-called “sweet olives”, characterized by a pulp with a very low quantity of bitter oleuropein. As with the Dolce di Cassano and Termite di Bitetto cultivars, the olives are also eaten fried, with or without cherry tomatoes, during the harvest period. If transformed into oil, the cultivar has a light olive fruitiness with hints of sweet almond.

The cultivation of the Mele cultivar is limited to some restricted areas of the province of Bari and Taranto.

Iconographic source: LOMBARDO N. et A.A. (a cura di), 2004, Contributo alla caratterizzazione del germoplasma olivicolo pugliese. Istituto Sperimentale per l’Olivicoltura. Rende (CS).


Professor Maria Lisa Clodoveo
Interdisciplinary Department of Medicine
University of Bari

Dr. Enzo Perri
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA)
Research Manager
Director of the CREA Olive, Fruit, and Citrus Research Center