The World’s Loneliest Tree

July 31, 2013
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The world's loneliest tree...

The world’s loneliest tree…

At 400kms from its nearest neighbour, L’Arbre du Ténéré (The Tree of Ténéré) was once considered the most isolated tree on earth. A lone landmark for caravan routes through the Ténéré region of the Sahara desert, it guided travellers en route to Algiers towards a 40m deep well nearby.

The tree, an Acacia, was a remnant of a once-large forest before the Sahara encroached on its corner of north-east Niger. While its companions slowly died off, the tree clung on, causing locals to believe it was embued with some special powers. Well diggers in the late 1930s found the real answer: a root system that burrowed more than 35m under ground to get to the water table.

The tree’s estimated 300 year life span was brought to an untimely end by a drunk truck driver in 1973. The government of Niger promptly placed its remains on display in the national museum, issuing a commemorative stamp on the anniversary of its death a year later. A metal sculpture of a tree, made from recycled parts now stands where in place of L’Arbre du Ténéré.

 

The 'tree' today.

The ‘tree’ today.

 

On the first anniversary of its' 'death', the government of Niger issued a commemorative stamp.

On the first anniversary of its’ ‘death’, the government of Niger issued a commemorative stamp.

There’s a photo album of the tree over the years here.

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