Flourishing in the middle of the desert

The Tree of Life (Shajarat-al-Hayat) is located in Bahrain. It is on a hill in a barren area of the Arabian Desert,  40 kilometres from Manama. This enormous abundantly green tree (Prosopis cineraria) is almost 10m high and over 400 years old, The yellow resin can be extracted from the tree, which is used to make candles and aromatic gums. Standing in middle of the desert with miles and miles of sand around,  it has become a local tourist attraction and is visited by thousands of people every year.  

Lots of theories about the survival of the Tree of Life

There is little rain in these desert areas and, therefore, lots of theories regarding the survival of this Tree of Life.  Apparently its roots are up to 50m deep and might reach underground water. However,  some scientists claim the closest water source is an underground stream about 2 kilometres away. Others speculate  it gets its water from the breezes from the Persian Gulf or even that it has learned how to extract water from grains of sand.

There are also non scientific theories for the flourishing of this Tree of Life. One of them says that the area was once the Garden of Eden, and the tree is growing by some mystical blessing. It is also claimed that it is protected by Enki, a god of water according to the Babylonian and Sumerian religions.

A symbol of hope

Whatever it may be, the tree is covered with beautiful leaves and it has learned to survive even in the most difficult conditions. For this reason it has, for some people, become a symbol of hope as this tree has defied all odds and is thriving in the middle of the desert.


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