Argan tree: History of the Argania Spinosa

Argan Tree

The Argan tree and its oil were first reported by the botanist, scientist, pharmacist and physician Ibn Al Baytar.

The Argan Tree:

The Argan tree — scientifically recognized as Argania Spinosa — is an extremely rare little-known tree indigenous to the southwestern Morocco.

Due to its extraordinary characteristics, it´s considered one of Morocco´s miraculous resources.

Its traditional uses and benefits range from forestry and food (i.e. Argan oil), to medicine and cosmetics.

The claims about its age are vastly varying.

The Argania Spinosa is believed to be one of the few surviving relict-breed species of the Tertiary Period (spanned between 65 million to 1.8 million years ago).

This is mainly due to its amazing ability to withstand long periods of drought, heat, the chalky poor soil and extremely harsh conditions.

Unlike some bizarre and dubious claims out there that the Argan tree was first reported by the explorer Leo Africanus in 1510, it is noteworthy that the Muslim botanist, scientist, pharmacist and physician Ibn Al Baytar was the first one to write about the Argan tree and its oil.

He described it in his botanical encyclopedia in the thirteenth century.

Argan tree: Argania Spinosa (or Argania Spinoza as some are calling it) has gained fame and importance in recent decades throughout the world thanks to the multifarious benefits and uses of its precious oil.

Habitat Of The Argania Spinosa:

Argania Spinosa

Argania Spinosa habitat.

Argan tree is now found in an intramontane area with very low average rainfall covering more than 2,560,000 hectares.

It is bordered by the Sahara, the High Atlas as well as the Anti-Atlas Mountains between Essaouira and Agadir Ida Outanane including the Souss-Massa National Park / southwest Morocco, Inzeguane Aït Melloul, Chtouka Aït Baha, Taroudant, and Tiznit and open to the Atlantic on the westside.

It plays a vital role on many planes therein.

The Argan forest is one of Morocco’s extremely important natural resources both culturally and environmentally.

It is a UNESCO protected forest and was declared since 1998 as an international biosphere reserve.

After the Argan tree suffered excessive industrial exploitation and deforestation which has led to a fast decline of the Argan forests in the last century, there are currently more and more programs set in place for the replanting of the tree all over the Argan area.

Argania Spinosa Anatomy


  1. Thank you so much. We also will be in Spain next year, 2020 and “hope to hop” over to North Africa. So much fun. Happy Thanks Giving to you.

  2. Does this tree grow in Portugal Algarve which has similar climate to Morocco..?

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    1. You’re welcome Natalie.
      Glad you found the information helpful 🙂

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