Reproductive physiology and sexual compatibility of the Spanish olive variety ‘Arbequina’ cultivated in Montenegro

Keywords: cross-pollination, fruit set, seed quality, Olea europaea L. biology


Aim of study: One of the newly introduced olive varieties in Montenegro is the Spanish olive (Olea europaea L.) variety ‘Arbequina’. The aim of this work was to study the changes in the reproductive physiology of the cultivar 'Arbequina' in conditions of Montenegro.

Area of study: Comparative experimental plots were established in two areas in Montenegro, the coastal region of Ulcinj and the inland region of Podgorica.

Material and methods: The research was conducted at four experimental sites (UL1 and UL2 in Ulcinj; PG1 and PG2, in Podgorica) over four years. Flowering phenophases, inflorescence characteristics, and inflorescence architecture were assessed. Pollination trials consisted of open-pollination, self-pollination, and cross-pollination of ‘Arbequina’ with several olive varieties, resulting in an assessment of fruit set.

Main results: A high level of fruit set (6.75%) in ‘Arbequina’ in open-pollination was recorded in the multi-varietal orchard (PG2). A much lower fruit set was found in the mono-varietal hedgerow orchards (0.75% in PG1 and 0.33% in UL2). The fruit set was very low in the mono-varietal orchards in self-pollination trials, ranging from 0.01% (PG1) to 0.06% (UL1).

Research highlights: These results confirm that ‘Arbequina’ is a self-incompatible variety, which is crucial both for farmers in establishing new plantations and for scientists in future research. Some of the 11 olive varieties cross-pollinated with the ‘Arbequina’ variety displayed pollinating potential, which needs to be proven with paternity tests. Despite the differences between experimental sites and areas, ‘Arbequina’ exhibited high reproductive potential, confirmed by many perfect flowers.


Download data is not yet available.


Acebedo MM, Canete ML, Cuevas J, 2000. Processes affecting fruit distribution and its quality in the canopy of olive trees. Adv Hort Sci 14: 169-175.

Adakalić M, Barranco D, León L, De la Rosa R, Lazović B, Perović T, 2006. Influence of temperature and harvest time on seed germination in olive (Olea europea L.). Voćarstvo 40: 167-172.

Alagna F, Caceres ME, Pandolfi S, Collani S, Mousavi S, Mariotti R et al., 2019. The paradox of self-fertile varieties in the context of self-incompatible genotypes in olive. Front Plant Sci 10: 725.

Barranco D, Cimato A, Fiorino P, Rallo L, Touzani A, Cactaneda C et al. (eds), 2000. World Catalogue of Olive Varieties. Consejo Oleícola Internacional, Spain. 368 pp.

Beghe D, García-Molano J, Fabbri A, Ganino T, 2015. Olive biodiversity in Colombia. A molecular study of local germplasm. Sci Hort 189: 122-131.

Ben Dhiab A, Ben Mimoun M, Oteros J, Garcia-Mozo H, Domínguez-Vilches E, Galán C et al., 2017. Modeling olive-crop forecasting in Tunisia. Theor Appl Climatol 128: 541-549.

Biton I, Many Y, Mazen A, Ben-Ari G, 2020. Compatibility between "Arbequina" and "Souri" olive cultivars may increase Souri fruit set. Agronomy 10: 910.

Breton C, Bervillé A, 2013. From the olive flower to the drupe: flower types, pollination, self and inter-compatibility and fruit set. In: The Mediterranean Genetic Code - Grapevine and Olive; Sladonja B (ed.). pp: 289-314. IntechOpen, London.

Breton CM, Farinelli D, Koubouris GC, Bervillé A, 2016. A model based on S-allele dominance relationships to explain pseudo self-fertility of varieties in the olive tree. Euphytica 210: 105-117.

Breton CM, Farinelli D, Shafiq S, Heslop-Harrison JS, Sedgley M, Bervillé AJ, 2014. The self-incompatibility mating system of the olive (Olea europaea L.) functions with dominance between S-alleles. Tree Genet Genom 10: 1055-1067.

Breton CM, Villemur P, Berville AJ, 2017. The sporophytic self incompatibility mating system is conserved in Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata and O. e. europae. Euphytica 213: 22.

Brizuela MM, Fernández FJ, Searles PS, 2014. Floral quality and inflorescence architecture in Olea europaea 'Arauco' (La Rioja, Argentina). Acta Hortic 1057: 95-100.

Caruso T, Campisi G, Camposeo FP, Vivaldi S, Proietti P, Nasini L, 2014. Growth and yields of 'Arbequina' high-density planting systems in three different growing areas in Italy. Acta Hortic 1057: 341-348.

Cuevas J, Polito VS, 2004. The role of staminate flowers in the breeding system of Olea europaea (Oleaceae): an andromonoecious, wind-pollinated taxon. Ann Bot 93: 547-553.

De la Rosa R, León L, Guerrero N, Rallo L, Barranco D, 2007. Preliminary results of an olive cultivar trial at high density. Aust J Agric Res 58: 392-395.

Díez CM, Moral J, Cabello D, Morello P, Rallo L, Barranco D, 2016. Cultivar and tree density as key factors in the long-term performance of super high-density olive orchards. Front Plant Sci 7: 1226.

El-Hady ES, Haggag LF, Abdel-Migeed MMM, Desouky IM, 2007. Studies on sex compatibility of some olive varieties. Res J Agric Biol Sci 3: 504-509.

Fabbri A, Bartolini G, Lambardi M, Kailis SG (eds), 2004. Olive propagation manual. Landlinks, Australia. 158 pp.

Farinelli D, Breton CM, Famiani F, Bervillé A, 2015. Specific features in the model of olive self-incompatibility system: Method to decipher S-allele pairs for varieties based on fruit setting. Sci Hortic 181: 62-75.

Farinelli D, Pierantozzi P, Palese MA, 2012. Pollenizer and cultivar influence seed number and fruit characteristics in Olea europaea L. Hort Sci 47: 1430-1437.

Fernandez-Escobar FR, de la Rosa R, Leon L, Gomez JA, Testi F, Orgaz M et al., 2013. Evolution and sustainability of the olive production systems. In: Present and future of the Mediterranean olive sector; Arcas N et al. (eds). pp: 11-42. CIHEAM/IOC, Zaragoza.

Koubouris GC, Breton CM, Metzidakis IT, Vasilakakis MD, 2014. Self-incompatibility and pollination relationships for four Greek olive cultivars. Sci Hortic 176: 91-96.

Koubouris GC, Metzidakis TI, Vasilakakis M, 2010. Phenological, morphological and functional indicators of genetic variability and their implication in the sexual reproductive system of Olea europaea L. (Oleaceae). Sci Hortic 123: 547-550.

Lavee S, Rallo L, Rapoport H, Troncoso A, 1996. The floral biology of the olive. I. Effect of flower number, type and distribution on fruit set. Sci Hortic 66: 149-158.

Lavee S, Taryan J, Levin J, Haskal A, 2002. The significance of cross-pollination for various olive cultivars under irrigated intensive growing conditions. Olivae 91: 25-36.

Lazović B, Adakalić M, Jovanović D, 2017. The flowering and pollination study on the olive variety Arbequina grown in Montenegro conditions. Agric For 63: 357-363.

Lazović B, Adakalić M, Perović T, 2014. Olive growing in Montenegro - current state and perspectives. IOBC-WPRS Bull 108: 3-11.

Lazović B, Adakalić M, Pucci C, Perović T, Bandelj D, Belaj A, Mariotti R, Baldoni L, 2016. Characterizing ancient and local olive germplasm from Montenegro. Sci Hortic 209: 117-123.

Lazović B, Klepo T, Adakalić M, Šatović Z, Baruca-Arbeiter A, Hladnik M et al., 2018a. Intra-varietal variability and genetic relationships among the homonymic East Adriatic olive (Olea europaea L.) varieties. Sci Hortic 236: 175-185.

Lazović B, Perović T, Adakalić A, 2018b. Fruit and endocarp properties in relation to intra-varietal morphological diversity of Montenegrin olive variety 'Žutica'. Acta Sci Pol Hortorum Cultus 17(2), 71-81.

Marchese A, Marra PF, Costa F, Quartararo A, Fretto S, Caruso T, 2016. An investigation of the self- and inter-incompatibility of the olive cultivars 'Arbequina' and 'Koroneiki' in the Mediterranean climate. Aust J Crop Sci 10: 88-93.

Miranović K, 2006. Maslina (Olea europaea L.). Pobjeda, Montenegro.

MONSTAT, Statistical yearbook of Montenegro: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.

Mora F, Tapia F, Scapim CA, Martins EN, Pinto RJB, Ibacache A, 2008. Early performance of Olea europaea cv Arbequina Picual and Frantoio in the southern Atacama Desert. Crop Breed Appl Biotechnol 8: 30-38.

Moutier N, 2002. Self-fertility and inter-compatibilities of sixteen olive varieties. Acta Hortic 586: 209-212.

Pinillos V, Calatrava S, Cuevas J, 2012. Effective pollination distance in Spanish olive orchards. Acta Hortic 949: 199-202.

Pinillos V, Cuevas J, 2009. Open-pollination provides sufficient levels of cross-pollen in Spanish monovarietal olive orchards. Hortscience 44: 499-502.

Rallo L, Cuevas J, 2017. Fructificación y producción. In: El cultivo del olivo; Barranco D et al. (eds). pp: 145-186. Mundi-Prensa, Madrid.

Rapoport HF, 2014. The reproductive biology of the olive tree and its relationship to extreme environmental conditions. Acta Hortic 1057: 41-50.

Rapoport HF, Moreno-Alías I, 2017. Botánica y morfología. In: El cultivo del olivo; Barranco D et al. (eds). pp: 35-64. Mundi-Prensa, Madrid.

Rovira M, Tous J, 2002. Pollen variability in several Arbequina olive oil clones. Acta Hortic 586: 197-200.

Sánchez-Estrada A, Cuevas J, 2018. 'Arbequina' olive is self-incompatible. Sci Hortic 230: 50-55.

Sánchez-Estrada A, Cuevas J, 2020. Profitability of artificial pollination in 'Manzanillo' olive orchards. Agronomy 10: 652.

Sanz-Cortés F, Martinez-Calvo J, Badenes M, Bleiholder H, Hack H, Llácer G, Meier U, 2002. Phenological growth stages of olive trees (Olea europea). Ann Appl Biol 140: 151-157.

Saumitou-Laprade P, Vernet P, Vekemans X, Billiard S, Gallina S, Essalouh L et al., 2017a. Elucidation of the genetic architecture of self-incompatibility in olive: evolutionary consequences and perspectives for orchard management. Evol Appl 10: 867-880.

Saumitou-Laprade P, Vernet P, Vekemans X, Castric V, Barcaccia G, Khadari B, Baldoni L, 2017b. Controlling for genetic identity of varieties, pollen contamination and stigma receptivity is essential to characterize the self-incompatibility system of Olea europaea L. Evol Appl 10: 860-866.

Seifi E, Guerin J, Kaiser B, Sedgley M, 2015. Flowering and fruit set in olives: a review. Iran J Plant Physiol 5: 1263-1272.

Serrano I, Romero-Puertas MC, Rodríguez-Serrano M, Sandalio LM, Olmedilla A, 2012. Role of peroxynitrite in programmed cell death induced in self-incompatible pollen. Plant Signal Behav 7: 779-781.

Shemer A, Biton I, Many Y, Vaking Y, Lavee S, Avidan B, Ben-Ari G, 2014. The olive cultivar 'Picual' is an optimal pollen donor for 'Barnea'. Sci Hortic 172: 278-284.

Vuletin-Selak G, Cuevas J, Ban SG, Perica S, 2014. Pollen tube performance in assessment of compatibility in olive (Olea europaea L.) cultivars. Sci Hortic 165: 36-43.

How to Cite
Lazovic, B., Adakalic, M., & Markovic, M. (2022). Reproductive physiology and sexual compatibility of the Spanish olive variety ‘Arbequina’ cultivated in Montenegro. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 20(2), e0802.
Plant physiology