29 interesting facts about Shajarat al-Hayah (Tree of life)

“As the poet said, “only God can make a tree,”
probably because it’s so hard to figure out
how to get the bark on.”

– Woody Allen

1. A lonely tree

There is a tree alone in the middle of a desert in Bahrain, that legitimately stands with its roots deep in the sand.

2. The time forgotten story of Shajarat al Hayah

This tree is locally known to us as the “Shajarat al-Hayah” and its alternative name in English is ” The Tree of Life”.

No one expected this tree to live or survive for such a long period of time, yet it has through God’s Will.

3. The king of desert

The Tree of Life in Bahrain is almost 9.75 meters (32 feet) high. It is called Shajarat al Hayat in its native Arabic language.

It has gone on thriving with the ideal height of 32 feet in the extreme temperatures and lack of freshwater resources. This is why it is known as the king of desert in many parts of the world.

4. It is over 400 years old

It is a Prosopis cineraria tree that is over 400 years old. 

It is an evergreen tree that can grow very well in a harsh climate and is well adapted to arid conditions.

5. It’s roots are 50 meters deep

Its roots are 50 meters deep, which is more than enough to reach the water.

6. The well-developed root system

The root system of this tree is long, deep and well developed, securing a firm footing and allowing it to obtain moisture from the groundwater.

7. It is a Mesquite tree

Its a mesquite tree. They may have one or multiple trunks with a multitude of branches. Its leaves are full of color with a green tint and it is remarkable for being existing for so long.

As one person explained,

“The reason people think its beautiful is because it has no right to be there.”

8. A Hardy, drought-tolerant tree

If we study the properties of this tree to understand it more comprehensively then it is quite evident that this is an extremely hardy, drought-tolerant tree because of its remarkable ability to draw water from the water table through its long taproot system.

9. Availability of water

However, it can also use water in the upper part of the ground, depending upon availability.

10. Ability to switch water resources

The tree can easily and rapidly switch from utilizing one water source to the other.

11. Native trees can grow rapidly and quickly

Mesquite trees can grow quickly and furnish shade and wildlife habitat where other trees will not grow.

12. Regeneration ability

It is also said that such a tree can even regenerate from a piece of root left in the soil.

13. A magical green spot in the desert

This tree of life is surrounded by the sea endless oilfields, and if you witness it from a distance then it appears like a magical green spot in the desert.

14. Low hanging branches to withstand hot winds and dry seasons

The tree has several low hanging branches that spread out in all directions as you can notice from various pictures of this tree. Why it is so? To easily withstand hot winds & dry seasons and shows considerable drought hardiness. 

15. It stabilizes shifting sand dunes

Because of its extensive root system, it stabilizes shifting sand dunes and is also useful as a wind-break. 

16. Folk remedies and uses of this border

It yields pale to yellow colored resin with properties similar to that of gum acacias and can be extracted which is used to make candles and aromatic gums and the seeds of this tree are processed into jams.

 17. Boosting tourism to its peak

It has gradually become a local tourist attraction and is visited by thousands of travelers every year.  

If you want to know why “the tree of life” is still surviving all alone in this oddity. Read more.

18. It is claimed that the closest water resource is about 2 kilometers away

There are many theories regarding how this tree is surviving in isolation with not any close companion. Some scientists claim that it is surviving because of the closest water source is an underground stream about 2 kilometers away.

19. By absorbing moisture from the surrounding

Others assume that it gets its water supply from the breezes from the Persian Gulf. By absorbing moisture from the surrounding.

20. Extracting water from the grains of sand

There is another claim which suggests that it has learned how to extract water from grains of sand. Quite possible.

21. It has a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen fixing bacteria

It has a symbiotic relationship with some bacteria that allow it to fix nitrogen in the soil. Hence, improving soil fertility and quality.

22. This area was once considered as the Garden of Eden

According to local inhabitants, there is a belief that this area was once considered as the Garden of Eden. And this myth verifies how the ancient inhabitants started naming it as the tree of life.

23. It is claimed that this tree is protected by Enki, known as a god of water

There are also some decorative beliefs revolving around 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.

24. This tree was nominated for the New Seven Wonders of Nature

In 2009, the tree was nominated for the New seven wonders of Nature list, but it did not make it to the final.

25. Recently, 500 years old pottery was discovered in the vicinity of the tree

In October 2010, archaeologists unearthed 500-year-old pottery and other artifacts near proximity of the tree.

26. The tree of life was an Acacia planted in 1582

A soil and dendrochronology investigation accomplished in the 1990s concluded that the tree was from the family of Acacia which was planted in 1582.

27. Estimating the age of tree by ring analysis

A soil and tree ring analysis conducted now more than 20 years ago. It was made possible by historian Dr. Ali Akbar Bushiri who concluded that the Tree of Life was planted in 1582 AD.

28. It was Fenced off in 2007

It was fenced off in 2007 after being targeted by vandals. An iron fence has been put around to protect the tree from being worshipped as it is considered sacred for being rumored as to be linked to the Garden of Eden.

29. Bearing the marks of ancient civilization and the wrath of a new era

The tree bears marks of graffiti and extensive damage has been done to it’s branches by vandals and youngsters who carve love messages on it’s trunk to immortalized their love as well.


Thank you for reading and highlighting my work. I frequently write for trees and think about them in my happy time. Please visit my blog and do comment on my posts for giving me a little dose of encouragement that I rarely receive.


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