The World’s Most Isolated Tree, Now Forever Gone
Largely due to its beauty and inspirational isolation the tree had acquired a legendary stature and became a destination of sorts for adventurers, explorers, and people traveling along the caravan route. It was reported that the tree sprouted green and yellow flowers. In 1939 Michel Lesourd, Commander of Central Service of Saharan Affairs, wrote of the tree:
“One must see the Tree to believe its existence. What is its se-cret? How can it still be living in spite of the multitudes of camels which trample at its sides. How at each azalai does not a lost camel eat its leaves and thorns? Why don’t the numerous Touareg leading the salt caravans cut its branches to make fires to brew their tea? The only answer is that the tree is taboo and considered as such by the caravaniers. There is a kind of superstition, a tribal order which is always respected. Each year the azalai gather round the Tree before facing the crossing of the Ténéré. The Acacia has become a living lighthouse; it is the first or the last landmark for the Azalai leaving Agadez for Bilma, or returning.”
In 1973 the tree was struck by an apparently drunk driver snapping its trunk. The tree died soon after the incident, and was later moved to while a metallic monument was placed on the spot, marking its once isolated and legendary existence.