HomeAmazingShajarat-al-Hayat – Miraculous Survival of Tree in the Desert
Shajarat-al-Hayat – Miraculous Survival of Tree in the Desert
The miraculous survival of a tree in the desert is the pure power of nature. The Tree of Life, or Shajarat-al-Hayat, is an astonishing natural marvel in Bahrain. The tree is situated 10 kilometers from Askar and 3.5 kilometers west of Jaw. This 32-foot-tall Prosopis cineraria has been making a seemingly impossible living out of dry sand for roughly 400 years. This dry land has no apparent source of water or other vegetation for miles around. The secrecy of the survival of the tree has made it a legend.
Most members of the Prosopis genus are native to America, and they have the common name mesquites. Prosopis cineraria, though, is native to Asia. These trees are famous for adapting extremely well to deserts and thriving in arid conditions, with rainfall as low as 150mm annually. But they have profound root systems, sometimes going up to 50 meters down, capable of reaching deep beds of underground water.
The secrecy status of the tree life in Bahrain is somewhat overstated. The ground where the tree grows is just 9–12 m above the sea level, and the groundwater level in this location is higher than the sea level. Not too far from the tree are ponds with water.
The conditions are also often humid, and mesquite is well adapted to gain moisture from the air as well. A closer inspection of the area shows other trees nearby. One smaller tree grows some 850 meters to the north of the Tree of Life. A local story says that the Tree of Life was planted here in 1583.
The tree has survived to this day. The tree looks very healthy and has fresh, green leaves. It grows on a small sand hill, looks magnificent in the harsh desert, and is visible from far away. This tree is a major local tourist attraction, as it is the only tree growing in the area.
Every year, more than 50,000 tourists visit the tree. Graffiti carvings frequently damage the Tree of Life. In recent times, an iron fence has been put around to protect the tree from vandals. Its another natural gift, so every traveler should respect it and clean the place.