Valentine.gr/The Greek Flowers Portal
 

flaglogo-gr.bmp (910 bytes)  

Unitedkingdom_sm.gif (528 bytes)  

Loading

Welcome To The Greek Flowers Portal

Home   Info   Contact

   

Join Valentine mailing list!
Enter your email address below,
then click the 'Join List' button:



 
ADVERTISEMENT...

 

  LINK OF THE MONTH

Valentine.gr  

June 2008

Did you know that the argan nuts have to pass through a goatís gut before being collected out of their dung, in purpose to be used in argan oil production?

Argan tree (Argania spinosa) and goat 

Argan - Argania spinosa

The Argan (Argania spinosa, syn. A. sideroxylon Roem. & Schult.) is a species of tree endemic to the calcareous semi-desert Sous valley of southwestern Morocco and to the algerian region of Tindouf. It is the sole species in the genus Argania and is the only member of the Sapotaceae family occurring north of the Sahara. 

Argania spinosa is known locally as "the tree of life". It is thought that the trees date back to the Tertiary period between 65 and 1.6 million years ago, and at one time grew all over North Africa and southern Europe. An evergreen thorny shrub or tree, it lives to 150-200 years old, and it can grow up to 10m from a single gnarled and twisted trunk or multiple stems. The leaves are small, 2-4 cm long, oval with a rounded apex. The flowers are small, with five pale yellow-green petals; flowering is in April. The fruit is 2-4 cm long and 1.5-3 cm broad, with a thick, bitter peel surrounding a sweet-smelling but unpleasantly flavoured layer of pulpy pericarp. This surrounds the very hard nut, which contains one (occasionally two or three) small, oil-rich seeds. The fruit takes over a year to mature, ripening in June to July of the following year. 

The argan tree can live to at least 250 years old, and although it starts producing fruit after about five years, it takes a further 25 before it is in full production, which lasts between 30 and 60 years in total. For full production argans require 50mm a year, though they can survive on as little as 15mm of water a year. During extreme conditions the tree becomes dormant, regenerating once the rains return. To survive such dry conditions they sinks their roots deep into the water table some 30m down. The tree also has shallow roots called tivotantes, which absorb rainfall. Unsurprisingly, little else will grow nearby as the trees are renowned for taking up all water available.

In some parts of Morocco, Argan takes the place of the Olive as a source of forage, oil, timber and fuel in Berber society. Especially near Essaouira, the argan tree is frequently climbed by goats. The argan tree branches carry vicious spines, which prove an effective deterrent to all wishing to pick the fruit, apart from the fearless goats; local people wait for the fruits to fall to the ground before harvesting.

Argan fruit falls in July, when black and dry. Until that time, goats are kept out of the argan woodlands by wardens. Rights to collect the fruit are controlled by law and village traditions. The leftover nut is gathered after consumption by goats, but the oil produced from these nuts has an unpleasant taste, and is not used for human consumption. Thereís an urban legend that the argan nuts have to pass through a goatís gut before being collected out of their dung. Some fruit are harvested that way, but it does taint the oil with an unmistakable smell of goat.

The oil which prodused without "goats help" is pure and is the famous Argan oil. Argan oil is slightly darker than olive oil, with a reddish tinge. It can be used for cooking and is claimed to have various medicinal properties, such as lowering cholesterol levels, stimulating circulation and strengthening the bodyís natural defences. Internationally, there is some interest in its possible cosmetic uses. The production of argan oil, which is still mostly done by traditional methods, is a lengthy process. Each nut has to be cracked open to remove the kernels, and it is said that producing one litre of oil takes 20 hours' work.

The residue from the kernels after oil extraction is a thick chocolate-coloured paste called "amlou" which is sweetened and served as a dip for bread at breakfast time in Berber households. It flavour is similar to that of peanut butter. The wood and nut-shells of the argan tree are burned for cooking; the wood is also used decoratively in some of the inlaid boxes which are made in Essaouira. 

Households that make their own argan oil tend to use if for general cooking. Because it is expensive to buy, others may use it more sparingly - flavouring salads, for example. A few drops stirred into couscous just before serving give it a rich, nutty aroma.

Argan production is still basically a cottage industry, managed largely by women. But many people believe that if the oil became better known it could provide more employment in the region as well as enhancing the environment.

The surface area and the density of the groves of argan trees are, however, receding in an alarming manner. In less than a century, more than a third of the argan forest has disappeared and the average density of the forest has gone from 100 to 30 trees per hectare. The arganeraie forests now cover some 8,280 km≤ and are designated as a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. However, research work has shown that the argan tree is not a fossil which is slowly dying out, but is, on the contrary the tree of the future for certain arid regions. As now the sight of goats in trees is controled and may become increasingly rare, it is hoped the argan groves will once more clothe the land, providing sustenance for the Berbers and safeguarding the future of an unlikely and versatile plant and the green curtain at the doorway to the Sahara.


Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argan
http://www.al-bab.com/maroc/env/argan.htm
http://www.mondeberbere.com/science/argan/argan_intro_en.htm
http://www.wildwoodgroves.com/GI121_argan_oil_10se%20indd.pdf

 

  LINK OF THE MONTH

 

Champak - Magnolia champaca
Hookerís lips - Psychotria elata
Suicide Tree - Cerbera odollam
Konjac - Amorphophallus konjac
Madagascar ocotillo - Alluaudia procera
Water Banana - Typhonodorum lindleyanum
Salak - Salacca zalacca
Natal Plum - Carissa macrocarpa
Ashanti blood - Mussaenda erythrophylla
Duranta - Duranta erecta
Maqui - Aristotelia chilensis
Manuka - New Zealand Tea Tree - Leptospermum scoparium
Suriname cherry - Eugenia uniflora
Australian Finger Lime - Citrus australasica
Sacred Flower of the Incas - Cantua buxifolia
Job's tears - Coix Lacryma-jobi
Velvet Bean - Mucuna pruriens
Java Apple - Syzygium samarangense
Screwpine - Pandanus utilis
Marimo - Aegagropila linnaei
Achocha/Caigua - Inca cucumber - Cyclanthera pedata
Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis
Sugar cane - Saccharum officinarum
Sacha inchi - Plukenetia volubilis
Coffea - Coffee Tree - Coffea arabica
Liquorice - Licorice - Glycyrrhiza glabra
Mullein -Verbascum thapsus
Iceplant - Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
Chayote - Sechium edule
Roselle - Hibiscus sabdariffa
Black Goji - Lycium ruthenicum Murray
Rose Cactus - Pereskia grandifolia
Durian - Durio zibethinus
Jackfruit tree - Artocarpus heterophyllus
Cassabanana - Sicana odorifera
Chilean myrtle - Arrayan - Luma apiculata
Kurrajong - Brachychiton populneus
Rice-paper Plant -Tetrapanax papyrifer
Shell Ginger - Alpinia zerumbet
Harlequin Glorybower - Clerodendrum trichotomum
Coco de Mer - Lodoicea maldivica
Silver Tree - Leucadendron argenteum
Buffaloberry - Shepherdia argentea
Himalayan Honeysuckle - Leycesteria formosa
Raisin Tree - Hovenia dulcis
Borojo - Alibertia patinoi - Borojoa patinoi
Butterfly Pea - Clitoria ternatea
Honey Flower - Melianthus major
Ombu - Phytolacca dioica
Lion's Ear - Wild Dagga - Leonotis leonurus
Moringa - Miracle Tree - Moringa oleifera
Sea Daffodil - Pancratium maritimum
Spear Lily - Gymea - Doryanthes
Camphor tree - Cinnamomum camphora
Waterwheel - Aldrovanda vesiculosa
Flowering rush - Butomus umbellatus
Four o'clock - Marvel of Peru - Mirabilis jalapa
Dead Manís Fingers - Decaisnea
Bitter Melon - Momordica charantia
Shoapnuts Tree - Shoapberry - Sapindus
Acerola - Malpighia
Monkey Ladder - Sea Heart - Entada gigas
Cherimoya - Annona cherimola
Caper - Capparis spinosa
Lithops - Living Stones
Chaste Tree - Vitex agnus-castus
Chilean Lantern Tree - Crinodendron hookerianum
Parrot's Beak - Lotus berthelotii
Water Hyacinth - Eichhornia crassipes
Guaiac Tree - Guaiacum officinale - Lignum-vitae
Mickey Mouse bush - Ochna serrulata
Cow's Udder - Solanum mammosum
Miracle fruit - Synsepalum dulcificum
Akebia - Akebia quinata
Chilean Firebush - Embothrium coccineum
Caesalpinia - Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Welwitschia - Welwitschia mirabilis
Saguaro - Carnegiea gigantea
Schisandra - Schisandra chinensis
Monarda - Bee balm - Bergamot
Tamarind - Tamarindus indica
Neomarica - Walking Iris
Red hot poker - Kniphofia - Tritoma
Sikkim rhubarb - Rheum nobile
Reseda - Mignonette
Paulownia - Paulownia tomentosa
Belamcanda chinensis - Leopard lily
Blue Poppy - Meconopsis
Cannonball Tree - Couroupita guianensis
Tamarillo - Cyphomandra betacea
Goji - Wolfberry - Lycium barbarum
Vanilla - Vanilla Planifolia
Stevia - Stevia rebaudiana
Pachypodium
Physalis
Ceropegia
Sturt pea - Swainsona formosa
Clematis
Grevillea
Jade vine - Strongylodon macrobotrys
Sansevieria - Snake Plant
Trochetia
Yareta - Azorella compacta
African tulip tree - Spathodea campanulata
Angel's Trumpets - Brugmansia
Achiote - Annato - Bixa orellana
Sausage Tree - Kigelia pinnata
Castor Oil Plant - Ricinus communis
Firewheel Tree - Stenocarpus sinuatus
Bat Flower - Tacca
Snake gourd - Trichosanthes cucumerina
Sedum
Hydnora - Hydnora africana
Pickerel Weed - Pontederia
Argan - Argania spinosa
Astilbe - False Goats Beard
Feijoa - Pineapple Guava - Acca sellowiana
Aquilegia - Columbine
Cassiope
Sweet Box - Sarcococca
Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera
Foxtail Lily - Eremurus
Rue - Ruta graveolens
Pittosporum
Ylang-Ylang - Cananga odorata
Rose of Jericho - Anastatica hierochuntica
Gunnera
Waterlily - Nymphaea
Calico Flower - Aristolochia
Daylily - Hemerocallis
Contorted hazel - Corylus avellana Contorta
Torch Ginger - Etlingera elatior
Mistletoe - Viscum album
Devil´s claw - Harpagophytum procumbens
Teasel - Dipsacus
Pampas grass - Gynerium argenteum - Cortaderia Selloanna
Purple coneflower - Echinacea purpurea
Coral Tree - Erythrina crista-galli
Portulaca
Lobelia
Field Poppy - Papaver Rhoeas
Narcissus - Daffodil
Mimosa pudica - Sensitive Plant
Boxwood - Buxus sempervirens
Firethorn - Pyracantha
Star of Bethlehem - Ornithogalum
Cosmos
Muscari - Grape Hyacinth
Papyrus - Cyperus papyrus
Zinnia
Honeysuckle - Lonicera
Passiflora - Passion Flower
Calendula - Marigold
Lupine - Lupinus
Canna - Indian Shot
Witch Hazel - Hamamelis
Oak - Quercus
Brunsvigia - Candelabra Flower
Tree peony - Paeonia suffruticosa
Olive - Olea europaea
Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus
Desert rose - Adenium obesum
Oleander - Nerium Oleander
Abutilon
Sweet Pea - Lathyrus odoratus
Chaenomeles - Flowering Quince
Forsythia
Amaryllis - Hippeastrum
Butchers broom - Ruscus aculeatus
Bay Laurel - Laurus nobilis
Gloriosa
Bamboo
Gladiolus
Artichoke - Cynara scolymus
Clivia - Clivia Miniata
Dipladenia - Dipladenia sanderii
Date palm - Phoenix dactylifera
Peach - Prunus persica
Almond - Prunus amygdalus
Willow - Salix
Pomegranate - Punica granatum
Protea cynaroides
Colchicum autumnale
Bird of Paradise - Strelitzia reginae
Cardon - Pachycereus pringlei
Wolffia arrhiza
Puya raimondii
Fuchsia
Asphodelus - Asphodel
Primula - Primerose
Dicentra spectabilis - Bleeding Heart
Edelweiss - Leontopodium alpinum
Helleborus Niger - Christmas Rose
Zantedeschia - Calla Lily
Fritillaria imperialis - Crown imperial
Aster
Heliconia
Common Sunflower - Helianthus annuus
Bee Orchid - Orphys apifera
Convalaria majalis - Lily of the Valley - Muguet
Syringa Vurgaris - Lilac
Viola
Impantiens
Snowdrop - Galanthus
Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima
Dionaea muscipula
Banksia
Sea anemone
Amorrhophallus titanum
Rafflesia arnoldi

 

ADVERTISEMENT...



 

Valentine.gr/The Greek Flowers Portal
....

Home | Information | Advertise | Contact Us | Greek Version | English Version