The Lone Tree In The Desert

About 50 years ago I read an article about a tree in the middle of the Tenere Desert in what is now Mali which was supposed to be the last tree remaining in what was once a thriving oasis. According to the story, this was the only tree for 500 miles in any direction and was so famous that directions were routinely given in terms of the tree, eg. “76 miles SSW of The Tree.” The article was occasioned by the fact that the tree had recently been struck by a jeep driven by a drunken French Army officer and was dying. I have never seen any other mention of the tree. Does anyone know whether all or any part of this story is true?

Wikipedia has a good article about the Tree of Tenere.

Just how drunk do you have to be to hit the only tree within 400 KM?

Maybe it jumped in front of his truck? :wink:

Maybe his name was Clouseau. That would explain a lot. :smiley:

According to the Wikkipedia article it was hit by a drunk Libyan, not a drunk Frenchman. Not that it made much difference to the tree.

I especially like the bones in the foreground of the Wikipedia photo.

I can’t find a cite, but I remember the story in the early 20th Century, the only two cars in Ohio(?) crashed into each other.

Further into the article, it mentions that the tree was hit once before, in 1939. Apparently, the tree originally has two trunks. The 1939 accident knocked off one trunk, and the 1973 accident knocked off the other one.

I first read about The Tree in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Encyclopedia of the Bizarre. I had no idea that the tree had been destroyed.

Very interesting. We lived in Mali for two years and never heard of this.

Oh, dude, you have GOT to find that.

Update: After a quick search on the 'net, I think this may be an urban legend. It supposedly happened in 1895 and 1902 in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Oklahoma. All of the cites mention hearing the story, but no one has a place, exact date or names.

I heard the identical story in the early 1970s, about the first two cars here in Sydney Australia. It is certainly a UL.