Argan tree is part of the Berber Culture
The argan tree is considered to be 25 million years (according to estimates by botanists) and thereby one of the oldest trees in the world. The thorny tree grows up to 1000 meters altitude in the mountains and an average of 175 years old. The tree reaches a height of 10 meters and can reach a diameter of 15 meters. To find water the roots of the argan drill up to 30 meters deep in the ground. The wood of this tree has a high density and is therefore very hard. The local Berber population also calls it ironwood. The argan tree is not well known because it grows only in the southwestern part of Morocco on an area covering 700,000 to 800,000 hectares.
The last ten years argan oil has become well known around the world for its cosmetic and culinairy use. But the benefits of argan oil are known to the Berber community for centuries.
The application of argan oil for cosmetic and culinairy use are centuries old. It is known that the Phoenicians around 1219 already knew the power of argan oil. The Andalucian physician Ibn Al Baythar wrote at the time a scientific paper on the mode of production and operation of argan oil. The Berber tribes who produce argan oil since time immemorial, intuitively felt that this oil was good for their welfare. They cite the argan tree is not for nothing that the ‘Tree of beauty’ or ‘Tree of Life’.
The argan tree plays a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance and the economic situation of the population. In 1998 UNESCO placed the argan tree on the World Heritage List. That was necessary because in less than a century, more than one third of the Argan forest disappeared. Nowadays there are approximately 20 million trees, which are owned by the Moroccan government. Due to the high Argan oil price today there is more respect for the Argan Tree. Cutting down a tree is severely punished. Despite the above measures, the tree is still threatened. Several organizations, including « La Fondation pour l’arganier » try to avoid extinction by planting Argan trees.