Native of Southern Europe to the Caucasus and North Africa. It has been cultivated there for a long time.
In 1678 an ancient specimen was found growing in the Wyre Forest, suggesting this tree could be a British native. But more likely to be a Roman import. Cuttings were taken and propagated at Arley Castle, Worcestershire. In 1907 an Arley Castle specimen was presented to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew by the Woodward family. There is every possibility that this tree supplied the fruit for Mr Hammond.
Entry from Mr Hammond’s Plant Register:
‘From seed of a fruit sent from the Royal Botanic Gardens by Mr W. J. Bean. Grown in a pot and transplanted here 1ft.6ins. (1921): 7ft.(1924): 17ft (1931)’
In 2004 Tony Titchen noted in his tree survey ‘that this was a fine specimen’ and ‘he wondered if this could be Wyre Forest stock’. in 2011 this was confirmed by Tony Kirkham’s office at Kew.