The WALA Plant Library
Argan Tree

Synonyms for Argan Tree: Moroccan ironwood
Scientific Name: Argania spinosa
Family: Sapotaceae (Sapodilla Family)


What is more surprising: a goat in a tree or a tree in the desert? The mighty argan tree manages to combine both spectacles. This survival artist of the Moroccan desert collects water in its leaves, making them a delicacy for thirsty goats. Most of the year the tree, whose crown can reach a diameter of up to 14 metres (40 feet), shows little or no growth but during the rainy period it comes to life, hastily producing abundant growth of leaves, flowers and fruits. However, it is another two years before the olive-like yellow fruits ripen - not long considering that the tree can reach an age of up to 200 years. Inside the fruit is a large nut about 3 cm in diameter. This in turn contains between one and three drop-shaped seeds or kernels which are smaller than sunflower seeds but rich in a valuable oil.