Most of you probably don’t think about trees when you think of the
Middle East. More than likely, any thoughts of that region likely conjure up
images of miles-long barren deserts for some of you. However, you may be
surprised that certain parts of the Arab world do, in fact, have forests of
Sure, some reading this are familiar with some of the more
well-known Arabic trees of the region. For example, there are the famous cedars
of Lebanon and the pistachio forests of Afghanistan. And you don’t have to know
the names of plants in Arabic to be familiar with some of these trees. For
example, the sap from the gum Arabic tree Senegalia Senegal is used in
everything from M&M’s to gummy bears.
Today, however, we’re not going to be focusing on certain types of
trees in the Middle East. Instead, we’ll be looking at three rather unique ones
– the thickest, the tallest and the oldest trees of the Middle East.
The Thickest Tree in the Middle East
In the small village of Shur Kesh, Iran, is a rather large tree
known as Quercus castaneifolia, in Arabic known as سنديان كستنائي الأوراق /sinyaan kastanaa’ee
al’awraaq/. The Chestnut-Leaved Oak Tree (its everyday name) was measured in
2022 with a girth of 15.45 meters (50 ft.). This makes this mighty oak the
thickest tree in the Middle East. However, it’s not the thickest tree in the
world. That title goes to a cypress tree (Taxodium mucronatum), which
measures 36.2 meters (119 ft.) around. It is located in the Mexican village of
Santa Maria del Tule, Mexico.
castaneifolia, سنديان كستنائي الأوراق, /sinyaan kastanaa’ee al’awraaq/
The Tallest Tree in the Middle East
In 2020, researchers measured an Oriental Beech (Fagus
orientalis) in Arabic known as زان شرقي /zaan sharqee/, found on the Ayder plateau in the
Camlihemsin district of Turkey. The Oriental Beech is native to Eastern Europe
and Western Asia and is well-known for its wide, shade-providing canopy. If
that is the case, a lot of people must fit under the shade of this particular
Turkish tree. That’s because researchers found it to be the tallest tree in the
Middle East at 33 meters (108 ft.) tall. That’s only two meters (10 ft.) shy of
the tallest tree in the world – the giant Redwood, الخشب
الأحمر العملاق /alkhashab al’aHmar alʻimlaaq/, known as Hyperion. Located in
California, it is a towering 35 meters (116 ft.) high.
orientalis, زان شرقي, /zaan sharqee/
giant Redwood, الخشب الأحمر العملاق,
/alkhashab al’aHmar alʻimlaaq/
The Oldest Tree in the Middle East
Also in California is Methuselah, an ancient bristlecone pine
thought to be around 4,588 years old. However, half a world away in Iran is the
world’s second oldest tree - the Sarv-e Abarqu, in Arabic known as, سرو أبر كوه /siroo ‘abar kooh/. Still, at
somewhere around 4,000 years old, this Cupressus sempervirens (Mediterranean
Cypress), سرو البحر
/siroo albaHar al’abyadh almutawassiT/ is the oldest tree in the Middle East. What’s more, some believe
it to be the oldest living thing in all of Asia. Not bad for a sapling that was
around when Stonehenge was completed and the Latins first set foot in
These are just some of the unique trees you’ll find in the Middle
East. Do you know of any more? Please let us know and maybe we’ll include
them in a future blog post.
Mediterranean Cypress, سرو البحر الأبيض المتوسط,
/siroo albaHar al’abyadh almutawassiT/
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