Summary The influence of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi colonization on photosynthesis, mineral nutrition, the amount of phospholipids and glycolipids in the leaves of olive (Olea europaea L.) trees was investigated. After six months of growth, the rate of photosynthesis, carboxylation efficiency, transpiration and stomatal conductance in mycorrhizal (M) plants was significantly higher than that of non-mycorrhizal (NM) plants. The inoculation treatment increased the foliar P and Mg but not N. The amount of glycolipids in the leaves of M plants was significantly higher than that of NM plants. However, the amount of phospholipids in the leaves of M plants was not significantly different to that in the leaves of NM plants. Also, we observed a significant increase in the level of α-linolenic acid (C18:3ω3) in glycolipids of M plants. This work supports the view that increased glycolipids level in the leaves of M plants could be involved, at least in part, in the beneficial effects of mycorrhizal colonization on photosynthesis performance of olive trees. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the effect of AM fungi on the amount of glycolipids in the leaves of mycorrhizal plants.