Picual, which originated in Spain, is one of the main oil cultivars in that country. Although the cultivar is widely spread in Spain, it is very uniform and selected clones show only minor differences.

Geographical Distribution

Picual has the widest spread of any single cultivar in Spain. It is the main tree for the Jaen area (Andulucia), the largest olive-growing region in the world. It grows well in hilly to mountainous areas and is able to withstand cold winters, even with snow. In Israel it is being tested both in the hills under dryland conditions and in intensive irrigated orchards at various locations with relatively hot climates, including the lower Galilee mountains, the coastal plain and the internal continental valley.


Tree Rather vigorous, with a tendency for an open canopy. Annual growth is medium, and usually lateral. The annual shoots are light grey, with medium node length. Often secondary shoots develop on current growth.
Leaf Uniform, with a shape somewhat curled inwards on the sides. The upper surface is shiny dark green and the lower surface is green/grey.
Stone Medium small, with deep grooves and a rough surface. It has an elliptic form, somewhat bent to one side. Maximum diameter is at the middle of the stone. Stone size is 18-20% of fruit mass.
Fruit Elongated and nearly symmetrical with a slight bend at the apex. At green maturation it has a rather dark shade. Blackening starts from the apex and the ripe fruit is uniformly dark black. Fruit size varies from 3 5 g according to yield and growing conditions. The mesocarp is light coloured, smooth and relatively firm. The oil content is medium-high 21-25%, on a fresh-weight basis. It remains at the lower end of this range, even under irrigation.

Agronomic Characteristics

The Picual tree is usually strong and adjusts to a wide range of soils and climatic conditions. It is particularly resistant to cold and wet soils, slightly tolerant to soils containing lime or calcium and has relatively high salinity tolerance. The flowering is in mid-season and the cultivar is usually self-fertile. No benefits from cross-pollination have been found in Spain. The yield is relatively high and the tree responds well to irrigation. Under intensive conditions, an average yield of about 12 tonnes per hectare can be reached. Maturation is early but the fruit should be processed without delay. The oil quality is medium but well accepted in the international trade. The fruits are susceptible to olive fly (Dacus oleae) and slightly sensitive to leaf spot (Cycloconium oleaginum). The vegetative propagation potential of cv. Picual is above average. In cooler regions, alternance can be minimised with controlled pruning to prevent over cropping.

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