Meet the Argan Tree
The argan tree is considered a providential tree throughout Morocco. For 3,000 years, Berber women have been using its oil, rich in essential fatty acids. Extracted by cold pressing, it is a true beauty elixir for the skin and hair. Now this ancient tree shares some of its secrets with us…
I am xerophilous, which means that I am able to withstand drought. My roots, which are almost five times longer than my upper part, allow me to draw water from deep within the earth. They anchor me so firmly to the ground that I can stand up to Chergui and Sirocco – the hot dry winds of Morocco.
I am slow. I do grow very slowly, but I can live for up to 200 years. I reach a height of 10 to 15 meters, and because I have a short, gnarled trunk, goats are able to climb onto my branches to eat my leaves and berries.
I am protected. The Moroccan argan forest was declared a "Biosphere Reserve" by UNESCO in 1998. This means that it is considered to be a site of excellence that reconciles economic development with environmental conservation.
I am generous. My wood and my nut shells can be burned as fuel. My berries feed herd animals. And when my fruit kernels are pressed, they yield an oil that women use to protect their beauty. I also help to prevent desertification (we cover over 830,000 hectares), and my leaves diffuse moisture.
I am welcoming. Just like tea, my oil is given to guests, with a plate of honey, as a sign of hospitality.