Argan tree, the origins of argan oil

The precious argan tree would be born several million years ago in northern Africa. Indeed, at that time, the Moroccan coasts and the Canary Islands were on common land. The argan tree would have been born naturally during this period of climate change.

It should be noted that the argan tree is also called argania spinosa, source of the precious argan oil. Moreover, on the list of ingredients of argan oil (INCI), it says “argania spinosa kernel oil”.

It is through the Tertiary era, period of the uprising of the Atlas, that the argan tree spread. Indeed, the evolution of the climate towards a warm and temperate trend would have allowed the argan tree to develop. First on the lands of Morocco and particularly, to a lesser extent, Algeria and Brazil.

forêt d’arganiers ou argania spinosa

argan histoire forêt argania spinosa

Also, attempts were made to cultivate the Argan tree outside Morocco. Indeed, the climates and lands of some regions of the world, such as California, Mexico and Israel, have allowed the cultivation of Argan trees, even if the yield remains quite low. Will they do better than nature? We leave you to meditate on this.

Today, argan oil is an essential ingredient in cosmetics (moisturizer, soap, shampoo, care against acne, …). Less known, obtained after roasting the almonds, it is also a culinary oil of very high quality in various recipes (salads, lobster, meat tagine, fish tagine, …).

Argan oil, a mysterious history

The history of Argania Spinosa is based on its medicinal, cosmetic and food virtues. This is how Argan oil became a prestigious oil that spread throughout the world over the centuries.

Mainly present in the region of Souss in Morocco, the argan tree populates in smaller quantities the northern regions to the west of Morocco.

Moreover, this endemic tree of Morocco is also found in the region of Tindouf in southern Algeria. On the other hand, far from the ocean and humidity, Algeria has seen its argan trees shrink over time.

arbre de l’argan : argania spinosa


The argan tree has been exploited since the arrival of the Berbers on Moroccan lands, but it remains difficult to say how they discovered the precious argan oil from its fruit. The name “argania spinosa”, attributed to the argan tree since the beginning of the 20th century, has long been consumed and cultivated in Morocco to meet individual needs.

The Argan Tree in the UNESCO World Heritage

In the 1990s, argan oil experienced a revival in international trade. Thus, to meet the high demand, many cooperatives, composed solely of women, have developed.

Thus, since 1995, manufacturing methods have been standardized to meet international health requirements. In addition, new industrial techniques to produce argan oil have emerged.

There are about 150 Argan cooperatives today. They allow more than 4500 women to live and take a more important place in societal decisions.

Finally, the rarity of the Argania Spinosa made it enter in December 1998 in the list of the heritages of the world of the UNESCO (United Nations for Education, Science & Culture Organization). Moreover, the protection of the Argan tree was notably engaged to retain the rise of the desert from the south to the north of Morocco.


argan histoire forêt argania spinosa