The Argan tree

Known as the « Tree of Life », the Argan tree (Argania Spinosa) is a spiny tree that grows exclusively in the south-west of Morocco on the Souss Plain, where there are 21 million trees covering more than 800,000 hectares.

As home to this rare and endangered species, the Argan forest was declared an International Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1998.

The Argan tree can reach a height of between 8 and 10 meters and some have been known to live as long as 200 years. This endemic species begins to bear fruit around age 5, and reaches its maximum production capacity after 20 years. The root system extends to a considerable depth, which helps to protect against soil erosion and hold back encroachment by the Sahara Desert.

The tree bears flowers and fruit:

  • OLVEA - Argan oil production in Morocco - Argan flower

    The hermaphrodite flowers appears between May or June; they are greenish yellow, sometimes white,

  • OLVEA - Argan oil production in Morocco - Argan fruit

    The fruit is an oval berry, the size and shape of a large olive, which contains a nut with one or two kernels,

  • OLVEA - Argan oil production in Morocco - Argan tree

    One tree produces an average of 10kg of fruit per year.

An ancestral tradition

The harvest of Argan fruit is a Berber tradition for women only. The techniques of Argan oil extraction are based on traditional knowledge that has been passed from mother to daughter within families down the centuries. The result is a miracle oil, which finally found its way across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe and the rest of the world a few years ago.

Between June and August, the women harvest the ripe fruit that has fallen onto the ground, and dry those several weeks in the sun. They retrieve the nut, deemed to be sixteen times stronger than hazelnuts, which they crack between two stones in order to obtain the precious, oil-rich kernels.

ARGAN OIL PRODUCTION

  • OLVEA - Argan oil production - Argan harvest

    HARVEST

    35 kg of ripe fruit
    Argan

  • OLVEA - Argan oil production - Sun drying

    SUN DRYING

    25 kg of dry fruit
    Argan

  • OLVEA - Argan oil production - Pulp removing

    PULP REMOVING

    20 kg of nuts
    Argan

  • OLVEA - Argan oil production - Manual crushing

    MANUAL CRUSHING

    3 kg of oil-rich kernels
    Argan

  • OLVEA - Argan oil production - Cold pressing

    COLD PRESSING

    1 kg of
    Argan oil

A miraculous oil

Argan oil has always been used by the Berbers of the Atlas Mountains as protection from the harsh climatic conditions (strong winds and burning sun).

This oil, very popular in the cosmetic industry, is used by many laboratories in their ranges for skin, body and hair care, as well as massage products. In fact, Argan oil‘s chemical composition gives it many cosmetics properties. Its content of oleic acid softens and soothes the skin while giving it shine, whereas its linoleic acid content, an essential fatty acid, gives it hydrating properties.

Discover our Argan oil

OLVEA Morocco produces a wide range of Argan oil, conventional or organic.

Discover our production unit in Morocco

OLVEA has an Argan oil production unit in Morocco.