The argan - multipurpose tree of Morocco

Prendergast, Hew D.V. and Walker, Colin C. (1992). The argan - multipurpose tree of Morocco. Kew Magazine, 9(2) pp. 76–85.



Joseph Hooker and John Ball, writing of Argania spinosa (L.) Skeels, said that "this tree is rightly regarded as the most interesting vegetable product of Marocco, being confined to that empire and to a very circumscribed area in it, belonging to an almost exclusively tropical family, yielding a most important article of diet to the inhabitants, and a wood that for hardness and durability rivals any hitherto described" (Hooker & Ball, 1878). More than a century later the argan continues to be of manifold interest; to the botanist and ecologist because of its apparent Moroccan endemism and its disjunct distribution in relation to its family, the Sapotaceae; to the food technologist because of its highly nutritious oil whose untapped commercial potential is hindered by problems with its extraction; and to foresters and local inhabitants because of its central role as a stabilizer of soil and as a source of fuel and food for goats. There must now, however, be added a further interest in the argan: a grave concern for its future.

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