All About the Argan Tree

All About the Argan Tree

The Argan tree is a species of tree indigenous to the semi-desert region in the southwestern part of Morocco. Little is known about this rare tree outside of Morocco. Even most of the indigenous people don’t know very much about this sacred tree because of the small part of the country which it grows. In fact, the Moroccan Argan Tree is only tree in its specie’s genus, meaning there is no other tree like it in the world. The tree is adapted perfectly for surviving in the dry, hot environment where it grows. The Argan tree has been given the name The Tree Of Life by the Moroccan people. The roots of the Argan tree run deep and they help to bind the soil particles together which stops the erosion of the nutrients in the soil which is probably why trees have been growing in the same valleys in Morocco for over four hundred and fifty years.

Although during the last one hundred years, due to numerous variables there numbers have shrunk. The best hope for the conservation of these endangered trees is in the thriving market for the oil that is produced from the kernel of the tree. The trunks of the Argan tree are “gnarled” and twisted and covered in thorns. The twisted trunks often allow an easy access point for grazing animals to reach the precious fruit.

The trees usually grow between twenty-six and thirty-four feet tall, and they can live for up to two hundred years. They have small flowers with five pale yellow-green petals. The part of the tree that everyone is after is the fruit of the Argan Tree. It bares a long, green, fleshy fruit similar to an olive, but much bigger and more round. Under the fleshy skin is a sweet smelling but unpleasantly flavored layer of pulp. Inside the pulp is where you will find the very hard nut which contains the oil rich seed. It takes over an entire year for an Argan Tree to produce mature fruits. After the kernel is extracted it is taken away to have oil taken out of it.

When the kernel is taken out the left over wood of the tree and the shells of the nuts are burned and used as fuel and for cooking. It’s also made into decorative home-pieces. The oil from the kernel is not the only use of the seed. After the extraction of the oil there is a residue that is left behind. It’s a thick paste that is chocolate-brown which is sweetened, prepared, and served as a paste with toast. It is said the taste very much resembles that of peanut butter. It seems that the precious endangered Argan Tree has many uses outside the general knowledge of the high value of the oil obtained by the kernel in the fruit and explains the high value of the products that contain any of its parts or ingredients.