The serenity of the argan tree

The argan tree (Argania spinosa) is a symbol of resilience and adaptability.The argan tree is extremely well adapted to drought and environmentally difficult conditions. As one of the oldest tree it is also named as "the tree of life", which nowadays only found in the region of south-western Morocco. Approximately 21 million trees remain in the 750.000 ha Argan forests between the coastal cities of Agadir and Essaouira stretching to the Sous Valley and to the edge of the fertile plains in the South. From the remaining argan forests 25,900 km2 are designated as a UNESCO Biosphere reserve.

Argan tree grows to 8-10 metres high and live up to 150-250 years, so a mature tree is an irreplaceable treasure. It flowers in April and produces a green fruit similar to an olive, but bigger. Inside the pulp is a very hard nut, which contains one-three small, oil-rich seeds. The ripe fruit falls to the ground in the hottest months, from where it is collected by hands. The preparation of the argan oil requires long hours of hard and phsical work, many hands are involved in the harvesting and pulp removal. The nut shell cracking mostly carried out by women of all ages, especially if traditional methods are used.