Ask a botanist, and the reply would be yes: an olive, just like a plum or a cherry, is a fruit. The olive is the small, bitter-tasting fruit of the olive tree, Olea europea. Olives are classified as fruit because they’re formed from the ovary of the olive flower, and they’re seed-bearing structures – those small stones (or pits) that you leave on the side of your plate could grow into trees if you planted them. In culinary terms, however, olives are like those other fruit, tomatoes, and are treated as a vegetable: we eat them in savoury dishes or on their own as a snack or hors d’oeuvre.