What differences exist between the varieties of olive trees grown in Montilla-Moriles?

Hello!Do you know what differences exist between the olive tree varieties grown in Montilla-Moriles?Today’s article is dedicated to this question and I continue talking about olive cultivation in this blog.

In case you are interested in this topic, I recommend that you also read How many varieties of olive trees are there in Montilla-Moriles?And when should olive harvesting begin? Two other very important questions related to today’s topic.

How many varieties of olive trees exist in Montilla-Moriles?

Before going fully into the differences between the most important olive tree varieties in this Montilla-Moriles area, I will briefly summarize that there are 3 varieties that are the most important and used:

  • Picual
  • white blade
  • Lechin

They are ordered according to the scope by number of hectares in the area, with Picual being the most important compared to the others.

As I point out in this article, there are more than 250 varieties of olive trees cataloged and cultivable in Spain, although today I am going to focus on explaining the differences between the 3 most important ones located in our area.

The differences between these 3 varieties of olive tree and between all the others are very significant and important and affect both the tree itself, its fruit, the olive, and the juice obtained from it, the olive oil.

For this reason, I am going to break down the details by variety so that you can compare them comfortably.


Tree: The tree of the picual variety has great vigor, with short, branched branches with a tendency to produce many buds and suckers. Its cups are vigorous and tend to close with good development. The young wood is grayish green. The leaves of this type of olive tree are elongated and widened in the upper half. This variety goes into production very quickly. It is a variety that adapts to various climate and soil conditions, very resistant to drought and limestone soils.

Fruit:  It is usually medium to thick in size and weighs around 3.2 grams. The pulp/stone ratio is around 5/1. Ripening takes place from the second week of November to the third week of December. The fat yield is excellent, reaching 27%. This type of olive is ideal for making olive oil.

Oil: The oil of the Picual variety is excellent for its composition of fatty acids and its amount of natural antioxidants. It has a high content of monounsaturated oleic acid and a low content of linoleic acid. It also has a high polyphenol content that makes it the most stable of all existing oils, thus obtaining a longer lifespan and excellent performance against thermal use in cooking. When it comes to flavor, we must differentiate between varieties grown in flat areas and in mountainous areas. The oils produced by the varieties planted in flat areas are full-bodied oils, generally bitter and with a certain woody flavor. The oils produced by varieties planted in the mountains are usually sweet and pleasant.

white blade

Tree: The Hojiblanca variety tree has medium to good vigor, with long and fruitful branches. The cups maintain a medium density and are characterized by a light greenish-gray color. It is quite resistant to cold and adapts very well to limestone terrain. Its leaves are partially ribbed and elongated, but somewhat wide and with a silvery underside, which gives rise to its name.

Fruit:  It is usually large to thick in size, reaching an average of 4.3 grams. Its shape is an almost perfect sphere with a high pulp/bone ratio, around 8. It ripens late, from the end of November to the end of December and is very resistant to detachment. The yield of its oil is low, with an average between 17-19%. This variety of olive is ideal for use in dressing, since it has a fairly resistant pulp.

Oil: The oil of the Hojiblanca variety has a very balanced fatty acid composition with relatively lower saturated acids than the rest of the oils of other varieties. Oxidation stability is not high and it is recommended to keep these oils protected from light and without excessive oxygenation. Regarding the flavor of this type of oil, we must highlight its sweetness at the beginning of the tasting, slight bitterness of green fruit and other fruits that sometimes remind of a fruit salad, spicy in the throat and almond-like final aftertaste.


Tree: This variety of olive tree is characterized by being very vigorous and having large roots, an open shape and a thick density in its crown. Tolerant of cold, drought and poor quality limestone soils. Its harvesting is the most expensive due to the high resistance to detachment of its fruit. The leaves of this type of olive tree are small, short and slightly widened in the middle, flat, showing a bright yellowish green on the upper surface and grayish green on the underside.

Fruit:  The average olive has a weight of around 3 grams, its shape is a little domed on the back and slightly asymmetrical. The apex is rounded and sometimes has a small nipple. It has a low average oil content, around 18%, and a high ratio between pulp and bone of around 7.8. Its maturation is quite early.

Oil: This type of olive trees produces an oil that is relatively unstable to oxidation with a very rapid loss of its organoleptic values. As for the flavor, say that this oil has a medium, grassy and balanced aroma. It presents bitterness and a remnant of green almond in the mouth. The ideal time to consume it is when it is freshly produced.

I hope that if you have come this far, you are a little clearer about why some varieties such as Picual or Hojiblanca are the most abundant in this area and you can answer the question I asked you at the beginning.What differences exist between the varieties of olive trees grown in Montilla-Moriles?If you have any information to contribute in this regard, leave it in the comments. Regards and until next time!

By Rafael Espejo.

Bodegas La Aurora S.C.A.

Avda. de Europa, 7 Montilla Córdoba 14550

Tél: 957 650 362 

Tél: 957 654 642

Email: administracion@bodegaslaaurora.com

La Aurora Wineries