Shajarat-al-Hayat – Miraculous Survival of Tree in the Desert
Miraculous Survival of Tree in the Desert. The Tree of Life or Shajarat-al-Hayat in Bahrain is an astonishing tree. The tree is situated 10 kilometers from Askar and 3.5 kilometers west of Jaw. This 32-feet tall Prosopis cineraria has been making a seemingly not possible living out of dry sand for roughly 400 years. This dry land has no apparent source of water and other vegetation for miles around. The secrecy of the survival of the tree has made it a legend.
Most members of Prosopis genus are native to America and they have the common name mesquites. Prosopis cineraria though are native to Asia. These trees are famous to adapt extremely well to dry 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 gifted 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 some 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 seen 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 tells that the Tree of Life was planted here in 1583.
The tree survived up to this day. The Tree looks very healthy and has fresh, green leaves, and 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 foremost tree growing in the area. The tree place is visited by about 50,000 tourists every year and the tree often is damaged by graffiti carvings. In recent times, an iron fence has been put around to protect the tree from vandals.