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Argan tree

Argania spinosa

Morroccan ironwood (Eng.)

The argan tree is a thorny tree with black gnarled trunks and dark green oval leaves which are rounded at the apex. This tree is known to live up to 200 years, and is an essential part of its environment in providing for both people and animals as well as preventing erosion and desertification. The oil extracted from the seeds of this tree has played and is still playing an ever-increasing role in the culinary, cosmetic and medicinal applications, not only traditionally in the local Berber society but also on a global level.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Spring
Fruiting time
Summer

Harvesting

The fruit takes over a year to mature, ripening in summer of the following year. It then falls when black & dry, pick up & process. Argan fruits can also be eaten by livestock without hampering oil production as the seeds are not digested & can be recovered in the dung.

Propagation

Seed
Sowing time - Spring/Summer; seeds can be slow and difficult to germinate. Due to the hard shell soaking prior to planting is essential.

Special features

Drought resistant
It is highly tolerant of drought, high heat, and poor soil conditions.
Attracts useful insects
Bees nest in these trees, that are thus a good source of honey.
Repels harmful insects
Argan wood is particularly resistant to insects.

Geography

Origin
The southwestern Morocco and to the Algerian region of Tindouf.
Natural climate
Mediterranean and Semi-arid areas

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Dry
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Notes
Food. Cosmetics. Forestry. Medicine. Protection from desertification

Personality

Family
Sapotaceae
Flower colour
Pale yellow-green
Scent
Mild

Problems

Infestation by the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata).

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